Saturday July 4th, 2020 7:04AM

Hong Kong police say protesters out of control, deny curfew

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police warned protesters Thursday that they were moving “one step closer to terrorism” by sinking the city into chaos, as riot squads skirmished with militant students at major universities.

China’s leader said ending the violence and restoring order are Hong Kong’s most pressing task, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

President Xi Jinping, who is attending the BRICS summit in Brazil, said his government would continue to firmly support Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, the police and the courts in “severely punishing the violent criminals.”

Police spokesman Tse Chun-chung denied his department had been asked to enforce a possible curfew this weekend. A Chinese state media outlet later deleted its tweet saying authorities were considering a weekend curfew.

The Hong Kong government, in a short statement, also called the curfew rumors “totally unfounded.”

"The force is certainly capable and determined to control Hong Kong's social unrest at the moment,” Tse said. “We welcome any new measures that can help us to achieve the goal of restoring the public safety and order in Hong Kong.”

In unusually harsh language, Tse said students were turning university campuses into “weapons factories” and a “hotbed” of crime.

“Their acts are another step closer to terrorism,” Tse said, warning of a major disaster if gasoline bombs stored on campuses were to catch fire.

He said violence that broke out this week at Chinese University of Hong Kong is spreading to other campuses "like a cancer cell," mentioning specifically Hong Kong University and Baptist University.

“It’s time to wake up. No society can tolerate this much senseless violence,” he said.

With no end to the protests in sight, the beleaguered police force is appointing a group of prison guards as special constables.

Up to 100 officers from the Correctional Services Department who are already familiar with anti-riot equipment will be given additional training and deployed mainly to guard government premises.

“The ongoing riots over the past few months, with their massive scale, simultaneous occurrence in various districts and grave severity of violence, make it necessary to strengthen the support for the police's front-line officers,” a statement from the police spokesman’s office said.

Residents endured a fourth day of traffic snarls and mass transit disruptions as protesters closed some main roads and rail networks.

Police said protesters shot several arrows at them near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. No officers were injured, and six arrows were seized at the scene, police said.

Life in this city of 7.5 million has been strained as thousands of commuters have been unable to get to work or endured lengthy commutes.

The government appealed for employers to show flexibility. “For staff who cannot report for duty on time on account of conditions in road traffic or public transport services, employers should give due consideration to the circumstances,” a statement said.

A business and high-end retail district in the center of the city was once again taken over by protesters at lunchtime, as it has been every day since Monday. Office workers watched from the sidewalks and overpasses as protesters littered the streets with bricks and other items to block traffic and police.

At one point, a group of police swooped in and kicked the bricks to the curb along one major thoroughfare, but the standoff continued.

The Education Bureau extended the suspension of classes for kindergarten to high school students until Monday. It ordered schools to remain open, though, to handle children whose parents need to send them to school.

Protesters have hurled gasoline bombs and thrown objects off bridges onto roads below during clashes at campuses this week. The Chinese University of Hong Kong suspended classes for the rest of the year, and others asked students to switch to online learning.

Students at Chinese University, site of some of the fiercest clashes where students hurled more than 400 firebombs at police on Tuesday, have barricaded themselves in the suburban campus.

Early Thursday they used chainsaws to drop trees onto streets around the campus and prepared for a possible confrontation with police, who were not intervening.

A major rail line connecting Kowloon to mainland China was closed for a second day and five major underground stations were shut along with seven light rail routes, the Transport Department announced.

“Road-based transport services have been seriously affected this morning due to continued road blockages and damage to road facilities. In view of safety concerns and uncertain road conditions, buses can only provide limited services,” the department said.

One of the main cross-harbor tunnels connecting Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the rest of the city was closed after protesters set some of the toll booths on fire Wednesday night.

Traffic was also disrupted because protesters have destroyed at least 240 traffic lights around the city.

Anti-government protests have riven Hong Kong, and divided its people, for more than five months.

The movement began over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Activists saw it as another sign of an erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a "one nation, two systems" principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Hong Kong police say protesters out of control, deny curfew
Hong Kong police have warned protesters that they are moving “one step closer to terrorism” and denied reports of a curfew
5:13AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Powerful hard-liner: Iran should stop honoring nuclear deal
Iranian official on Guardian Council says Iran should stop abiding by all terms of 2015 nuclear deal
5:11AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Lakers beat Warriors 120-94, improve to 9-2
LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists in three quarters, Kyle Kuzma added 22 points while starting for Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the hobbled Golden State Warriors 120-94
5:08AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Power struggle in Bolivia: Añez at home vs Morales in exile
Power struggle in Bolivia: It’s Jeanine Añez at home vs. Evo Morales in exile while clashes continue in crisis-wracked Andean country
4:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Cirque du Soleil founder tangled in Tahiti marijuana probe
Authorities in French Polynesia have handed preliminary drug charges to the founder of world-renowned circus Cirque du Soleil
3:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
Israel, Islamic Jihad cease fire after heavy Gaza fighting
Israel, Islamic Jihad militants reach cease-fire to end 2 days of Gaza fighting that killed at least 34 Palestinians
3:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
China tests Mars lander in international cooperation push
China has invited observers to a test of its Mars lander as it pushes for inclusion in more global space projects
3:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
California crisis of fires, blackouts decades in the making
California’s Pacific Gas & Electric is faced regularly with a no-win choice between risking the start of a deadly wildfire or immiserating millions of paying customers by shutting of the power
1:07AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP sources: Ex-Gov. Patrick says he’ll make presidential bid
AP sources: Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is telling allies he plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination
12:16AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Powerful hard-liner: Iran should stop honoring nuclear deal
Iranian official on Guardian Council says Iran should stop abiding by all terms of 2015 nuclear deal
5:11AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Lakers beat Warriors 120-94, improve to 9-2
LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists in three quarters, Kyle Kuzma added 22 points while starting for Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the hobbled Golden State Warriors 120-94
5:08AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Schools closed in New Delhi as air quality dips for 3rd day
Schools in India’s capital have been shut for Thursday and Friday after air quality plunged to a severe category for the third consecutive day, enveloping New Delhi in a thick gray haze of noxious air.
5:03AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Despite female push, Garth Brooks bests Underwood at CMAs
Garth Brooks bests Carrie Underwood for top honor at the Country Music Association Awards on night that highlighted female country stars
5:01AM ( 16 minutes ago )
EU migration chief warns Bosnia of looming winter crisis
The European Union’s top migration official is warning Bosnian authorities of a likely humanitarian crisis this winter due to appalling conditions in overcrowded migrant camps in the country
4:38AM ( 40 minutes ago )