HONG KONG, China – Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests erupted into violence in June, plunging the former British colony into its most severe crisis since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
In a week when the crisis entered a new phase of worsening violence, here is a recap of 5 months of unrest.
In the semi-autonomous territory’s biggest demonstration since 1997, more than a million people, according to organizers, march on June 9 to protest a draft government bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.
Violence erupts when pockets of protesters fight running battles with police.
A new demonstration on June 12 sees the worst clashes since the handover.
Police use tear gas, rubber bullets and batons against demonstrators. Dozens are injured and one protester dies falling from a roof.
Two million protesters
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam suspends work on the bill on June 15 but a demonstration the next day calls for its full withdrawal.
Organizers say two million people take part in a city of 7.3 million.
On July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, hundreds of protesters smash their way into parliament and ransack the building.
Authorities get tough
On July 21, masked, stick-wielding government supporters – suspected to be triad gangsters – beat protesters in a train station.
July 27 and 28 see running battles between riot police and protesters.
The local authorities and Beijing toughen their stance and dozens are arrested.
On August 5, a strike brings the city to a standstill.
Hong Kong’s airport cancels flights on August 12 after being invaded by thousands of black-clad protesters.
On August 15, thousands of Chinese military personnel parade in Shenzhen, just across the border.
On August 25, police for the first time use water cannon and fire a warning shot after clashes in which protesters throw bricks and Molotov cocktails.
On September 4, Lam says the extradition bill is withdrawn, but the move is dismissed by activists.
September 29 sees the most intense confrontations in weeks.
On October 1, police for the first time shoot a pro-democracy protester, leaving him wounded. The violence overshadows China’s celebrations of 70 years of Communist Party rule.
Lam invokes emergency powers on October 4 to ban protesters wearing face masks, but activists vow to defy the new law.
The government on October 29 bars leading activist Joshua Wong from running in local elections.
On November 3, a man goes on a knife rampage, leaving at least 5 people wounded. Another knife attack takes place days later, and a pro-Beijing politician is wounded.
And on November 8, in the first student fatality, a Hong Kong student dies after sustaining head injuries when he fell during clashes with police 5 days earlier.
The crisis enters a new phase on November 11 when hardcore protesters embark on a campaign to “blossom everywhere” across Hong Kong, in a bid to stretch police resources.
A police officer shoots a masked protester in an incident shown live on Facebook.
A masked assailant also douses a man with a flammable liquid and sets him ablaze, with the horrifying scene captured on mobile phones and posted online.
And on November 14, a 70-year-old Hong Kong man dies after he was hit by a brick during clashes. – Rappler.com
Here are more stories about developments in Hong Kong:
- China’s Xi says HK violence threatens ‘one country, two systems’ – state media
- Hong Kong protesters fire arrows at cops and choke city for 4th day
- Students from mainland China flee Hong Kong over protest violence fears
- Chaos in Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests ‘blossom everywhere’
- Hong Kong clashes rage on university campus and business district
- Protesters hit Hong Kong commute as western powers urge restraint