With protests in Hong Kong becoming increasingly violent and showing no sign of easing, demonstrators have been coming up with creative ways to counter the widespread use of tear gas by police.
- Hong Kong police have fired 1,000 rounds of tear gas at protesters
- The protests began in June against a proposed Chinese extradition bill
- Demonstrators say they won’t stop until their demands are met
The newest strategy involves using a highly accessible object — traffic cones — to trap the gas.
Videos posted online capture the rapid, coordinated response from some groups of protesters.
They pounce on incoming tear gas grenades, smothering the smoke and grenade with a traffic cone and then pouring water through the hole at the top.
The so-called ‘firefighter’ teams wear hard hats, gas masks and gloves.
They also arm themselves with umbrellas to shield incoming rounds.
Despite the demonstrations now being in their ninth consecutive week, the largely young crowd of students and professionals are showing no signs of slowing down.
Instead, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and creative in their methods of protest.
Some protesters are using laser pointers to distract police officers.
They also point the beams at surveillance cameras to avoid being spotted and identified.
The use of force by police has failed to deter the activities or quell the disquiet, rather inciting more anger.
Police in Hong Kong say they have fired 1,000 rounds of tear gas and about 160 rubber bullets since the anti-China demonstrations began in June.
They have been criticised for lobbing tear gas at protesters near apartment complexes, shopping malls and parks across the city.
Demonstrators work together to bring city to a standstill
Overnight, protesters implemented a scattergun-type approach by paralysing the financial hub through a rare city-wide strike, which choked key air, train and bus transport routes.
Hundreds of cars and buses were temporarily brought to a standstill when protesters blocked roads leading to a major cross-harbour tunnel.
Rail lines were closed, while hundreds of flights were cancelled.
The train to the airport was also shut down, along with one of the runways.
Following the strike, protesters then coordinated simultaneous rallies across the city in seven different locations into the early hours of the morning in a bid to create chaos and confusion.
In the city’s north, bricks were hurled at a police station, before demonstrators lit a bonfire using plastic containers.
A group wielding bamboo poles invaded North Point, a traditionally conservative part of the city, and clashed directly with residents.
Locals were quickly overrun by protesters hurling whatever they could get their hands on, including traffic cones and metal barriers.
China says it will not ‘sit idly by’
What started as a peaceful protest against a proposed extradition bill in early June has quickly morphed into a wider movement.
Protesters say they are fighting for democratic reform and are angry with mainland China, the Hong Kong Government and its police force.
The protesters now have a long list of demands.
They want Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam to stand down, an investigation into the use of police force against protesters, and full democracy of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
More than 100 people were arrested on Monday night, adding to the 420 already charged since protests began two months ago.
In recent days, there has been speculation China’s military stands ready to intervene after last week posting a publicity video showing troops firing tear gas at mock street demonstrators.
“The central government will not sit idly by and let this situation continue,” China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
But the Hong Kong Government insists there is no need to deploy the army.
Ms Lam warned the recent protests had pushed the city to the “verge of a very dangerous situation” and threaten to “destroy” the city’s prosperity.
“What is in front of us is Hong Kong’s stability and Hong Kong’s future,” she said.
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