Hong Kong protests: Police fire tear gas at protesters during rally near luxury hotel

The Peninsula is one of the city’s oldest and most expensive hotels

Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters outside the Peninsula hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui

Police in Hong Kong fired tear gas and fought with angry demonstrators outside a luxury hotel on Sunday, another sign of fraying civility in a financial hub roiled by nearly five months of protests.

The protesters began gathering in the afternoon in the same shopping district where a week earlier police used water cannons with stinging blue dye to clear a peaceful demonstration outside a mosque.

Sunday’s rally was billed partly as a show of support for the city’s ethnic minorities.

Riot police fired tear gas on the demonstrators less than an hour after the rally began and there was a heavy police presence in the area well into the night.

The rally was unauthorised and came a day after a local court issued a temporary order that bans the harassment of police officers.

The rally unfolded in the neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui, a few blocks from the Peninsula, one of the city’s oldest and most expensive luxury hotels.

Demonstrators carried signs saying “Justice will prevail” and “Oppose the Communist Party, fight against totalitarianism”.

There was a heavy police presence from the start. Within minutes, officers were tussling with protesters and firing tear gas and pepper spray.

The number of tourists visiting Hong Kong fell after protests started in June (Statista)

Reporters inside the Peninsula’s lobby saw people choking on tear gas that had wafted in from the street.

Hong Kong police later said on Twitter that protesters had attacked officers with umbrellas and “hard objects”.

When the police dispersed the crowds outside the mosque last weekend, they used water cannons that fired stinging blue dye, hitting protesters, journalists and the building’s entrance.

The police later said the spraying of the mosque had been an accident.

As night fell on Sunday, hundreds of officers marched from Tsim Sha Tsui towards the working-class neighbourhoods further north on the Kowloon Peninsula.

A police truck sprayed water cannons - without the blue dye - and more tear gas was fired.

Police officers in riot gear have suppressed demonstrations for months using tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons and occasionally live rounds.

Early this month, an officer shot in the chest, but did not kill, a teenage protester.

The New York Times

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