Hong Kong Police Fire Blue Dye at Mosque

October 18 anti-mask human chain causeway bay

Hong Kong police have fired water cannon and tear gas at crowds holinding an illegal march, with hardcore protesters throwing petrol bombs and trashing businesses to cap a week of anger after recent attacks on pro-democracy demonstrators.

A water cannon truck and armored vehicle led a column of dozens of police vans down Nathan Road, a major artery lined with shops, stopping frequently to spray liquid tinted blue as they moved to clear the road of protesters and barricades.

Hong Kong authorities scrambled to minimize the fallout from the incident, which protesters seized on as the latest example of what they call unnecessarily harsh police tactics.

A hard core of protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the station's iron gate and into the police station compound. Blue stains from the dyed water remained on the road in front as worshippers gathered for prayers today. Police use the dye to identify protesters.

As the protesters fled the streets, frontliners stayed behind to slow the advance of riot police, setting fire to makeshift barricades. They coughed uncontrollably while wiping down metal railings and the gate, as the dye was mixed with an irritant created to force crowds to disperse more quickly.

Police used trucks to smash through protest barriers.

The group, who did not appear to be protesters, was struck twice, with much of the bright blue jet painting the mosque's entrance and steps. Several Chinese banks were targeted.

The protests in the Chinese-ruled city also pose the biggest popular challenge to China's President Xi Jinping since he took power. "For that they apologized so we accept it", said Saeed Uddin, honorary secretary of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong. It has since widened into a pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are set for another weekend of civil disobedience as they prepare to hold an unauthorized protest march to press their demands.

Sunday's march was banned by the police despite organisers' pledge to keep it peaceful and non-violent.

A sea of protesters shuffled through the streets under a canopy of umbrellas to protect from the bright sunshine on Sunday. Other posters read "HongKongers Resist", while graffiti on one wall said "Better Dead than Red".

Later Saturday, supporters waving USA and British flags held a prayer rally to call for outside help for their cause. Some tore up pavement bricks for clashes with police.

"The government pretends we just want to destroy the city".

"If they really wanted to catch those attackers they could", he said.

But unemployed protester Daniel Yeung said "you can see Hongkongers won't easily give up their right to demonstrate ... today's turnout is more than I expected".

Hong Kong is governed under a "one country, two systems" formula, which permits the city freedoms not available on the mainland such as an independent judiciary.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) has said the ban on masks, which have become a hallmark of the protests, is aimed at deterring radical behavior.

A protester sprays on a man who was trying to stop them for vandalising near the Tsim She Tsui police station. "You can't do this in an worldwide city", she said, adding she was not afraid of being arrested. Lam was twice shouted down in the city's legislature last week by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.

Lam said on a radio show that Chan Tong-Kai's decision to surrender has led to a "relatively relieving" conclusion to the case.

"If we don't come out tomorrow, then violence will prevail and escalate: the violence inflicted by the regime, the police and local triads", Mr Chan told reporters Saturday.



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