The entrance to a subway station is set on fire during a protest in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
The entrance to a subway station is set on fire during a protest in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

Hong Kong is right on the brink

Hong Kong's economy is in jeopardy from ongoing protests as police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters, who reportedly responded by throwing petrol bombs and setting fires.

Police say anti-government protesters set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs in response.

And the government has warned that the protests are hurting Hong Kong's economy.

"It seems that it is extremely difficult to achieve the forecast of zero to one per cent growth," Financial Secretary Paul Chan warned, citing the impact of the ongoing protests.

There was a stand-off as dusk began to fall in the Chinese-ruled city, with pro-democracy protesters and bemused tourists gathered on the pavements of the shopping and hotel artery of Nathan Road, which police had earlier cleared in slow-moving cordons.

Tear gas engulfs protesters in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Tear gas engulfs protesters in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

Riot police stood by outside the Chungking Mansions high-rise warren of South Asian restaurants and backpacker hostels, shields and batons at the ready. Protesters shouted obscenities in colourful Cantonese at "black police", referring to perceived overuse of force.

"Fight for Hong Kong!" protesters shouted, "five demands, not one less", a reference to demands for universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police actions, among other things.

Tear gas in the streets of Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Tear gas in the streets of Hong Kong. Picture: AP

Police later moved away, leaving protesters, pedestrians and tourists alike to take over the street under the neon lights. Then one water cannon moved in, firing high into the air and down side-streets.

The number of protesters had grown by the minute earlier in the afternoon, streaming down Nathan Road to the water's edge, in front of the dramatic backdrop of Hong Kong island, but many fled after the tear gas and pepper spray were fired.

Ambulances took one man away on a stretcher.

A journalist is assisted after getting hit by pepper spray in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
A journalist is assisted after getting hit by pepper spray in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

In a blog published, Financial Secretary Paul Chan warned that the city may post negative growth this year because of the protests.

"It seems that it is extremely difficult to achieve the forecast of zero to one per cent," he wrote.

Among the demands from protesters are an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,500 arrested and fully free elections - all of which have been refused by Beijing and chief executive Carrie Lam.

 

 

A Hong Kong police officer holds a weapon during confrontation with protesters in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
A Hong Kong police officer holds a weapon during confrontation with protesters in Hong Kong. Picture: AP

 

 

A protester reacts to tear gas in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
A protester reacts to tear gas in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Police officers restrain protesters during a rally in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Police officers restrain protesters during a rally in Hong Kong. Picture: AP
Hong Kong riot police. Picture: AP
Hong Kong riot police. Picture: AP


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