WATCH anti-govt protesters fight with Beijing supporters in Hong Kong mall

Intense fistfights broke out at the high-end Amoy Plaza mall in the busy Kowloon district of Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory, on Saturday afternoon. Videos from the scene show the activists pulling and punching each other. Some clobbered their opponents with umbrellas and hurled objects at them.

A group of protesters were filmed chasing a man, before pinning him on the ground.

The confrontation started after hundreds of pro-Beijing activists gathered at the mall, waving China’s national flags and singing the country’s national anthem. A crowd of anti-government protesters later flocked to the mall to confront them, and the scuffles immediately broke out. 

Some reports say the fights started after a few people were accused of taking pictures of the protesters’ faces and filming them.

Riot police were deployed to quell the violence, and ambulance trucks arrived as well. At least ten people were said to been arrested at the mall. Officers were filmed escorting several handcuffed young men from the building. The crowds of anti-government protesters, meanwhile, remained outside, singing the famous protest song, ‘Glory to Hong Kong.’

The protests also continued in other parts of the city. Several bus routes were suspended after anti-government activists erected barricades across the streets.

Massive rallies in Hong Kong were initially sparked by the controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be handed over for trial in mainland China back in March. Activists and human rights campaigners argued that Beijing would exploit the legislation to persecute dissidents.

While some protests remained peaceful, others spiraled into rioting and violent clashes with police. The Hong Kong government suspended work on the extradition bill following the backlash, and later promised to withdraw it completely. 

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The protesters, nevertheless, are refusing to back down until their other demands are fulfilled, such as amnesty for everyone detained in the clashes and an electoral reform. Weekly demonstrations have dealt a blow to Hong Kong’s economy.

The central government in Beijing and the Hong Kong authorities blasted the violence during the protests. China also warned foreign countries against inciting riots in the city, after several top politicians in the US and the EU openly backed the protesters.

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Pro-Beijing activists have become more visible in Hong Kong in recent weeks. They staged several demonstrations in malls, mimicking the tactics originally used by the anti-government protesters. Their rallies, however, received much less coverage in the Western mainstream media than the ones directed against mainland China.

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