49 arrested, 16 injured in latest demonstration in HK

Beijing, July 29 (IANS) At least 49 people have been arrested after 16 were injured during the latest mass demonstration that swept the financial district of Hong Kong, and which went ahead despite being banned by the authorities, the island's police said on Monday.

According to a statement given by the police, the people were arrested for taking part in Sunday's illegal rally, punishable with a three to five-year prison sentence and hefty fines, and for the possession of offensive weapons.

A total of 16 people were injured, of which four have already been discharged from hospital and the rest remain stable, according to the supervisory authority of the city's hospitals cited by local media.

The authorities had denied permission for a 2km march from Chater Garden to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park in the city's downtown area, claiming it was dangerous, though they did allow a public meeting at the Chater Garden.

However, that did not prevent thousands of people, in several groups, from turning out and protesting on the main streets of the area, reported Efe news.

According to the statement, the protesters attacked officers with "bricks, glass bottles, paint bombs; pouring suspected corrosive liquids; and shooting metal marbles with a crossbow".

This is a new phase in the demonstrations that began in early June in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill.

Protesters now have broader demands regarding the democratic mechanisms of the former British colony, whose sovereignty reverted to China in 1997 after Beijing committed to maintaining its special system of common law until 2047.

--IANS

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