Asia-Pacific

Protesters call on Donald Trump to help 'liberate' Hong Kong

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Hong Kong police have fired tear gas on protesters, who waved US flags and sang the Star Spangled Banner as they called on US President Donald Trump to 'liberate' the city.

A huge crowd of pro-democracy activists marched to the United States consulate in Hong Kong in a bid to ramp up international pressure on Beijing, following three months of protests.

Hong Kong police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the upmarket Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday, after demonstrators had rallied at the US Consulate calling for help in bringing democracy to the Chinese-ruled city.

Activists set barricades, smashed windows, started street fires and vandalised the MTR metro station in Central, the smartest district of the former British colony.

Thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators marched to the U.S. Consulate on Sunday, urging President Donald Trump to help "liberate" their city.
Thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators marched to the U.S. Consulate on Sunday, urging President Donald Trump to help "liberate" their city.
AP

Central district, home to banks, jewellery shops and top-brand shopping arcades, was awash in graffiti, broken glass and bricks torn up from pathways. Protesters set fires from cardboard boxes, building barricades with metal fencing.

"We can't leave because there are riot police," said protester Oscar, 20, in Causeway Bay. "They fired tear gas from the station. We are heading to North Point."

North Point is east of Causeway Bay.

Thousands of protesters earlier sang the Star Spangled Banner and called on US President Donald Trump to help "liberate" the city. They waved the Stars and Stripes and placards demanding democracy.

"Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," they shouted before handing over petitions at the US Consulate. "Resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong."

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday urged China to exercise restraint in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Esper made his call in Paris as police in Hong Kong prevented protesters from blocking access to the airport but fired tear gas for a second night running in the densely populated district of Mong Kok.

Last month Trump suggested China should "humanely" settle the problem in Hong Kong before a trade deal is reached with Washington. Earlier Trump called the protests "riots" that were a matter for China to deal with.

The vandalism started in the evening. Police have responded to violence over 14 weeks with water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas.

A protester covers his face as he marches to the US consulate in Hong Kong.
A protester covers his face as he marches to the US consulate in Hong Kong.
AP

Several arrests were made.

Hong Kong returned to China under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. Many Hong Kong residents fear Beijing is eroding that autonomy.

Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the pro-democracy "Umbrella" movement five years ago, was re-arrested at the airport on Sunday on return from Germany and the United States for breaching bail conditions, he said.

He had been charged with inciting and participating in an unauthorised assembly outside police headquarters on June 21 and released on bail.

Protesters break the gateway of Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong.
Protesters break the gateway of Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong.
Yomiuri Shimbun

"Preliminary legal advice suggested that the court had acknowledged and approved my trips to Germany and the US when it granted bail on Aug. 30," he said in a statement. "Therefore, it is believed that there are some mistakes have been made on the bail certificate."

He said he thought he would be freed on Monday.

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