Hong Kong protests: Trump signing of human rights bill sparks celebrations; PolyU siege ends as police lift cordon

South China Morning Post

Beijing strongly condemns passing of Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

South China Morning Post |

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Protesters express their gratitude to Washington for signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law.

Last Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law, sparking protests from Beijing and Hong Kong. Trump also signed law banning the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd-management equipment used by Hong Kong police to control the protests.

Thousands of people rallied in Hong Kong on Thursday night – Thanksgiving Day – to thank the US for passing the bill.

On Friday, police ended their 12-day siege of Polytechnic University. About 100 officers entered the campus to collect evidence and remove dangerous items. They say they found more than 4,000 petrol bombs, but no protesters.

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Lunchtime demonstrations across Hong Kong continued on Friday, with workers turning up in the major industrial district of Cheung Sha Wan in Kowloon to occupy multiple junctions, and others gathering in Central and Kowloon Bay.

Since the election weekend, lunchtime protests have drawn smaller crowds seeking to block roads and disrupt traffic.

Just before 2pm on Friday, police used pepper spray against a crowd outside the Audemars Piguet luxury watch store on Pedder Street, after protesters heckled officers. One man was arrested in the clash, and officers then cordoned off the street, not allowing anyone on either side to cross.

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At 1pm, some 100 protesters occupied the intersection between Cheung Lai Street and Cheung Shun Street in Cheung Sha Wan. Many of them wore masks, as they chanted slogans and raised their palms – a symbol of their five political demands.

Traffic was disrupted as vehicles including taxis and buses were stuck along Cheung Shun Street.

As well as the regular white collar workers taking part, many secondary school students in uniform were also spotted at the Cheung Sha Wan protests during their lunch break. Some students said they wanted to show they were determined to continue until the five demands are met.

Two students were arrested at Caritas Ma On Shan Secondary School on Wednesday and held overnight for questioning. One, a 17-year-old, was released on bail on Thursday night. The other, Form Six student Lai Man-kwong, 18, has been charged with possession of an explosive substance. He was accused of carrying 0.5 grams of triacetone triperoxide at the school on Wednesday. He was denied bail.