Finance district front and center again

Top News | Michael Shum and Cindy Wan 15 Nov 2019

The Central district was once again paralyzed for the fourth consecutive day as hundreds of protesters set up blockades along the main roads at lunchtime.

Protesters, many of them office workers, blocked Connaught Road Central and Pedder Street with debris and dug up bricks at around 1pm to show their support for "frontline" protesters.

Crowds also marched to the pro-Beijing Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Connaught Road Central but found its gates closed upon arrival and instead returned to Pedder Street.

During the protest, scuffles broke out after a 51-year-old man provoked the protesters by calling them "cockroaches" and "rubbish."

The man surnamed Shum was caught in a confrontation with several protesters, who surrounded and punched him, leaving him bleeding on his face and nose.

Some tried to help the man flee the mob attack, sheltering him in a Dah Sing Bank branch before riot police arrived.

He was later sent to Queen Mary Hospital for treatment. A journalist was also injured during the scuffles.

At around 2.30pm, more riot police arrived and started clearing blockades, assisted by a water cannon vehicle.

Several journalists were knocked down as police officers charged down Pedder Street. One person was detained.

At 7pm, hundreds showed up in Edinburgh Place to attend an approved assembly to voice support for firefighters.

A self-proclaimed fireman wearing a mask and sunglasses said he was required to clear roadblocks and participate in dispersal operations for non-urgent situations after the August 31 incident.

"They said [police] need more manpower, but in fact, everyone can see they want to drag firefighters into the dirty water. I think it is so shameful," he said.

In Quarry Bay at around 2pm, hundreds of protesters gathered at Taikoo Park wearing their work attire and face masks.

The protesters flooded King's Road near Kornhill after the short assembly, demanding the police force to be disbanded and Hongkongers to take revenge, but left peacefully after an hour.

In the New Territories, the late evening saw some 50 protesters establish roadblocks at Pak Heung Road and Tai Wo Road in Tai Po using bricks, traffic cones, and road signs.

In Tsuen Wan, riot police fired tear gas at 8.45pm to disperse dozens of protesters after they uprooted a goalpost from a soccer pitch in Sha Tsui Road Playground to block the Tai Ho Road.

According to the Hospital Authority, 32 men and eight women have been sent to hospitals for treatment since midnight to 5.21pm yesterday.

In other news, a statement from the Bar Association condemned an act of arson at the Sha Tin Law Courts Building.

"The attack on the court building represents an attack on the independent judicial authority of Hong Kong. It is difficult to think of anything that is more corrosive to the rule of law," it said.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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