Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong have blocked train services during the early morning rush hour, causing commuter chaos, in the latest anti-government campaign to roil the territory.
Activists blocked train doors on Tuesday, playing havoc with services and forcing hundreds of people to stream out of railway stations in search of alternative transport.
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Rallies against an extradition bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial, have now evolved into a wider backlash against the city’s government and its overseers in Beijing.
Protests have been taking place almost daily, sometimes with little notice, piling pressure on Hong Kong’s beleaguered government and stretching the city’s police force, which some have accused of using excessive force.
“We don’t know how long we are going to stay here, we don’t have a leader, as you can see this is a mass movement now,” said Sharon, a 21-year-old masked protester who declined to give her full name.
“It’s not our intention to inconvenience people, but we have to make the authorities understand why we protest. We will continue with this as long as needed.”
Others chanted, “Liberate Hong Kong,” and “Revolution of our Time”.
Rail operator MTR Corporation said some services had been disrupted and urged people to use other forms of transport.
Hong Kong, which returned to China in 1997, is embroiled in its worst political crisis for decades after two months of increasingly violent protests.
On Monday, China reiterated its support for Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, and its police and urged Hong Kong people to oppose violence.
The latest protest follows a demonstration at the Chinese-ruled city’s international airport on Friday and violent protests at the weekend, when activists clashed with police who fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and sponge grenades – a crowd-control weapon.
Minor scuffles broke out between protesters and commuters as some grew frustrated over the train stoppage.
“It’s so inconvenient and annoying, really. I am in hurry to work, to make a living. Will you give away your salary to me?” said one 64-year-old man.