Police dispersed anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong on Sunday using tear gas after a protest and separate march meant to show gratitude to the U.S. government for backing the uprising, Reuters reported.
Hundreds of people turned out for the protest in the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, where local businesses closed early before police began spraying tear gas, according to the news service.
The unrest followed a week of relative stability after candidates favoring direct elections of the city’s leaders saw major victories in municipal elections. The period of relative calm followed months of nearly uninterrupted demonstrations, sparked early in the summer when Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a bill to allow extradition of some criminal suspects to China.
“We had demonstrations, peaceful protests, lobbying inside the council, a lot of things we have done but they all failed,” a graduate student who gave his name as Felix said at the Sunday demonstration, Reuters noted.
He added that “there are still five demands” from protesters, including direct elections, Lam’s resignation and a third-party probe into police brutality against protesters.
Lam formally withdrew the extradition bill earlier in the year in hopes it would stem the protests, but they have largely continued unabated, with protesters occupying and barricading the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in November before about 1,100 occupiers were arrested last week.
On Sunday, numerous protesters waved American flags, with some of them unfurling a banner depicting President Trump after he signed bipartisan legislation backing protesters after initially suggesting he would not do anything to jeopardize a trade deal with Beijing and saying “if it weren’t for me, thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now.”