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By 11:30pm, police told some media that over 100 protesters had been arrested on 9/29. That would be the largest single-day number of protest arrests since 148 on 8/5 & put arrest total over 1,656. No word on number of arrests Friday evening yet.
Many of the 9/29 arrests occurred in 2 swoop&grab police actions: 1 on Harcourt Rd a little before 5pm in which at least 37 were detained & 1 on Queensway at about 5:30 involving dozens of detentions.
4 were arrested outside of Sogo, Causeway Bay before 2pm. People Power leader Tam Tak-chi was also arrested there just after 2. W Ventus Lau's arrest at 6am today, now 18 #HK protest & political leaders have been arrested 21 times (Andy Chan, Keith Fong & Ventus Lau 2x each).
In addition, the number of violent attacks on #HK protest & political leaders is growing: Yesterday, @hoccgoomusic in Taiwan & Stanley Ho in #HK. Previously, Ronald Leung, Max Chung, Jimmy Sham, Roy Kwong, Andy Chan & Isaac Cheng, all since mid-August. news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compon…
@hoccgoomusic Apart from the mass arrests, the policing of the #929GlobalAntiTotalitarianism march was among the most abusive yet. Police had already banned 16 protests, but yesterday marked a new low: for the 1st time since protests began on 6/9,police tried to prevent marchers from gathering
Previously, police would ban a march but then not interfere with protesters gathering. No one applied for police approval for the #929GlobalAntiTotalitarianism march. Riot police showed up early to intimidate potential marchers & made at least 4 arrests.
Then, as thousands of peaceful protesters were about to march, police attacked them with 5 rounds of teargas. Some pro-govt media reported that protesters threw things at police. I was there. This is what happened: Police charged protesters & a few of them threw bottles at them.
Police then used this as justification to attack them w teargas. Behind police lines were hundreds of meters of open road. If the police wished to back away from protesters, they could have. Instead, they first charged them, then teargased them.
Media must report more on the extent to which #HK people's right to freedom of peaceful assembly has been now so narrowly restricted & abused as to almost have been suspended. Yesterday felt like martial law.
Marches in particular have been virtually banned. In the past month, only one march was approved by police, to the US Consulate on Sep 8, & that one police terminated early. In defiance of the bans, hundreds of thousands of #HK people have marched (see turnouts in list above).
I was a peaceful protester yesterday. In the course of the day, I was shot by teargas fusillades on 6 separate occasions (1 at Causeway Bay, 3 at Admiralty, 1 in Wan Chai & again in Causeway Bay) & I was almost hit by a sponge grenade.
There is almost no space in #HK for peaceful protest, especially marches (some gatherings in discrete locations such as Edinburgh Place & Chater Garden have been allowed). As a marcher, on several occasions recently, I feel as if hunted down by the police.
In the past 2 days, I've witnessed police directly target journalists 3 times: 1) On Friday evening (9/28), at the top of Tamar Park, police pepper sprayed journalists from behind water barriers. Protesters had backed away & journalists were standing in an isolated group.
2) On Friday evening (9/28), police teargased journalists at the southern mouth of Tim Wa Ave. Again, there were no protesters in the immediate vicinity. Journalists stood on the other side of water barriers & were directly targeted by police.
3) On Saturday afternoon (9/29), after police shot 5 rounds of teargas at protesters outside Sogo in Causeway Bay, protesters retreated 200m, leaving journalists in an isolated group. Police then shot one round of teargas directly at them.
In addition, one reporter was hit in the eye by a police missile (news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compon…) & one was hit on the hand by a police baton (news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compon…).
Then, there is the case of police using live fire (news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compon…). This is the 4th such case (involving 5 shots) of police discharging their pistols. In 3 of the 4 cases, the police were undercover, disguised as protesters.
Right groups have repeatedly stressed that police should not disguise themselves as protesters because of the dangers such high-risk action pose to both police & protesters, & yet the police continue to do so. I fear this could lead to tragic consequences.
Overall, the fundamental issue is the complete impunity police enjoy. They've been tasked by the #CCP & #HK govt with the mission of putting down the protests & given license to do virtually whatever it takes to accomplish that mission.
The political authorities refuse to address this political crisis politically & instead are relying on force. Through mass arrests, massive police violence & protest bans, they've drastically restricted the space for peaceful protest.
What then emerge are news reports of 'escalating violence'. What the media should be reporting much more is the extent to which #HK people are defying the intimidation & persecution w peaceful protests of many kinds almost every day:
mall singalongs, human chains, secondary & uni students on strike, protests by social workers, medical workers, labor unions, football fans, families & ordinary people from all walks of life (that's just in the last 2 weeks, check out this complete list: bit.ly/2M67fGu)
Plus many forms of resistance & solidarity from the society at large: 70-80% of #HK people are against the regime. Just one example: Last night, police chased thousands of us down Hennessy Rd toward Causeway Bay. We heard there were lots of police in CWB, so we headed...
...toward Happy Valley. This was unknown territory for the most of the 2,000 or so I was with. Out of the middle-class apartment complexes came security guards to advise the fleeing protesters on routes they could take. Dozens of taxis appeared to ferry protesters to safety,....
...private cars rolled down their windows & shouted out destinations & protesters hopped in. Everyone in #HK is doing their part in whatever way they can to fight the oppression, to fight for freedom. There are literally millions of inspiring stories out there, so media...
...please don't settle for some lazy 'escalating violence' narrative. Over the weekend, the number of #HK demonstrators since #June9 surpassed 9 million (9,249,066, to be precise). And of that number, far less than 1% have engaged in anything that could be considered 'violent'.
The police actions of the past 2 days are directed toward trying to suppress demonstrator turnout on Oct 1. This is a political mission, nothing to do with law enforcement. The police are tasked with ensuring that #HK demonstrators don't ruin the Party's party. See you tomorrow!
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