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Police fire tear gas at Hong Kong protesters in end to temporary lull

Police say radical protesters threw bricks at officers and tossed traffic cones at a police vehicle.

RIOT POLICE HAVE fired tear gas against demonstrators in Hong Kong, ending a short lull in protest-related violence.

Police said early today that they fired the choking gas after unrest erupted overnight in the Mongkok district of Kowloon.

Police say radical protesters threw bricks at officers and tossed traffic cones at a police vehicle. They also set fires and blocked roads.

Video footage showed police squirting pepper spray in the direction of journalists and ganging up to beat a man with their truncheons.

The unrest and scattered confrontations in shopping malls early yesterday ended what had been a lull of a couple of weeks in protest-linked violence.

Hong Kongers have protested in huge numbers over the last six months, fuelled by years of growing fears that authoritarian China is stamping out the city’s liberties.

The territory’s Beijing-backed leaders have offered few concessions and police have cracked down hard on protesters in increasingly violent confrontations.

The protests have taken on a strong anti-China bent, with radical demonstrators trashing branches of mainland banks, China’s official Xinhua News Agency and restaurant chains whose owners support the Beijing government in recent months. 

Hong Kong is part of China but has its own legal system and greater freedoms than the mainland. The protesters say those freedoms are under threat from a city government that is beholden to Beijing.

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