Hong Kong citizens step up protests as riot police withdrawn

(from theguardian.com)

Thousands of Hong Kong citizens protested across the city on Monday, blocking roads and prompting the closure of banks and schools, as they stepped up their calls for democracy.

Police attempts to use teargas to clear huge protests from Admiralty and Central in downtown Hong Kong late on Sunday backfired by spurring more people to take to the streets, with numbers peaking in the tens of thousands. Fresh protests sprang up in Causeway Bay and Mongkok, in Kowloon.

Parts of the financial hub, generally known for its orderliness, were paralysed by the demonstrators. The government announced on Monday morning that riot police had been taken off the streets as citizens “have mostly calmed down” and urged people to unblock roads and disperse.

Hong Kong enjoys considerable autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework and has long been promised universal suffrage for the election of the next chief executive in 2017. But protesters are furious that the rules announced by Beijing will impose such tight controls on candidates that a democrat could not even stand. They see the decision as part of a broader attempt to tighten controls on the region.

(keep reading at theguardian.com)