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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Protesters vandalize Xinhua office, public property during night of violence

Iran Press TV

Sun Nov 3, 2019 06:17AM

Hong Kong protesters have set fire to metro stations and vandalized buildings, including an office of China's official news agency Xinhua, during a night of violent protests after Beijing vowed to tighten control over the restive city.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon Saturday as thousands of protesters defied authorities in another unsanctioned march.

Commercial districts on the main island turned into a battlefield as squads of black-clad protesters – many wearing face masks despite a recent ban on them – clashed for hours with riot police.

Protester also headed to streets in the upmarket Causeway Bay shopping area, clashing with police forces, who were conducting searches and issuing warnings that the rally was illegal.

In nearby Victoria Park, rioters unearthed a goalpost from a football pitch and metal railings to block the park's entrance, prompting police to respond with tear gas.

Several of the rioters were arrested for vandalizing and causing disturbance at the park.

Others quickly regrouped in the area, using plastic cones and metal railings to block roads making preparation to continue further clashes with police.

Some rioters hurled bricks and petrol bombs and vandalized multiple subway stations, banks and businesses perceived to be pro-China – including the office of China's state-run Xinhua news agency, which had its windows smashed.

Xinhua condemned the attack by what it said were "barbaric thugs," who broke doors and security systems and threw fire and paint bombs into the lobby.

"The practice of the black rioters once again shows that 'stopping the violence and restoring order' is Hong Kong's most important and urgent task at present," a spokesperson for Xinhua said in a Facebook post.

With no major demonstrations planned for the day, a clean-up operation began across the city on Sunday.

The protests came after Chinese leaders vowed on Friday to take new steps to "safeguard national security" in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has been rocked by street protests since June, when the administration of the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed a plan to allow extraditions to mainland China.

Protesters say by suggesting the now-shelved proposal, Beijing infringed on the freedoms guaranteed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Beijing blames the United States and Britain for instigating unrest and violence and exacerbating the situation by backing the unlawful actions of the violent Hong Kong rioters.

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