HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police announced Monday arrest of 36 people, the youngest at the age of 12, after violence escalated during anti-government demonstrations when protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at security forces who reacted with water cannons and tear gas.
At a protest in Hong Kong, China, on August 25, 2019, an anti-dropout demonstrator blocked the road. REUTERS / Willy Kurniawan
The protests on Sunday saw clashes between the police and demonstrators, and the protests escalated in mid-June over a suspended extradition law that would allow Hong Kong's people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
The police fired water cannons and tear gas volleys in ongoing battles with demonstrators on Sunday, the second day of violent clashes in the Chinese-ruled city.
Six officers drew their pistols and an officer fired a warning shot into the air, the police said in a statement.
"The escalating illegal and violent actions of radical protesters are not only outrageous but are also bringing Hong Kong to the brink of a very dangerous situation," the government said in a statement.
Further demonstrations are planned in the coming days and weeks, including a rally at Cathay Pacific Airways ( 0293.HK ) in Hong Kong on Wednesday to protest the alleged "white terror" Describe Anonymous Actions that create a climate of fear.
Cathay has emerged as the biggest corporate victim of the protests after China demanded to suspend staff who participated in or supported the anti-government demonstrations that plunged the former British colony into political crisis.
The protests also represent the most serious challenge facing Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking power in 2012. Beijing has been anxious to quell the turmoil before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1st.
] The demonstrators romped on Sunday evening with cat and mouse and quickly moved to locations in the former British colony, where barricades were set up earlier in the day after a largely peaceful rally to block some roads.
The police claimed to have arrested 29 men and seven women aged 12 to 48 years for violations, including illegal assembly, possession of assault weapons and attacks on police officers.
The clashes on Saturday and Sunday returned to unrest after days of quieter demonstrations. The protests that escalated in June over a suspension law now suspended shook Hong Kong for three months and occasionally caused serious disruption, including the closure of the airport.
The city, an important Asian financial center, faces its biggest political crisis since the British handed over power in 1997.
Protesters claim they eradicate the agreement "One country, two systems" Hong Kong returned with Promises of continued freedoms that have not existed on the mainland for 50 years returned to China.
The protests take their toll in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, where hotels and restaurants are half empty and several global events postponed.
Hong Kong's reference Hang Seng Index .HSI fell more than 3% early Monday and outperformed regional markets as the recent US-China commercial war salvaged investors.
coverage by Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok; Letter from Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Michael Perry