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Tear gas fired as HK protesters block roads

Hong Kong: Hong Kong riot police fired several rounds of tear gas after protesters blocked roads and chanted the five demands of the city’s anti-government movement, it was reported.

On Saturday night, about 100 protesters gathered at a car park in Sheung Tak Estate to commemorate the death of a university student who reportedly fell from the parking’s third floor last November and died following a severe brain injury, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper reported.

They shouted slogans such as “Five demands, not one less” and “Liberate Hong Kong; the revolution of our times”.

At around 10 p.m., some protesters started to block the roads nearby with bicycles and traffic cones.

Minutes later masked police officers arrived in private cars and chased them, which followed the arrival of riot police.

The protesters’ five demands include that direct universal suffrage to elect a chief executive and other representatives be granted, that almost 6,000 detainees be freed, that protests not to be considered unrest and that an independent investigation is launched into alleged police brutality, Efe news reported.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June 2019 following a controversial extradition bill already withdrawn by the government, but have mutated into a movement seeking to improve Hong Kong’s democratic mechanisms and safeguard the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.

Some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with police have been frequent.

Months of protests have plunged Hong Kong’s economy into recession for the first time in a decade, having contracted by 2.9 per cent in the third quarter, due to falling imports and exports, retail sales and declining tourism.