Hong Kong protests flare for 21st weekend amid global unrest

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists demonstrated for the 21st straight weekend as unrest inspired by the movement spread around the globe, from South America to Europe to the Middle East.

The police fired tear gas on Sunday at protesters in Tsim Sha Tsui who blocked roads and disrupted traffic. That followed a night of clashes in the New Territories district of Yuen Long and a peaceful rally that drew thousands in Central. Some protesters set fire to shops in Jordan and hurled petrol bombs at a police station in Sham Shui Po, an area in Kowloon, while others threw smoke grenades at train exits.

The Monday morning commute was normal, with nearly all train lines running as scheduled. Rail operator MTR Corp. announced that all subway lines would shut down at 11 p.m., except for the Airport Express.

The rallies have become increasingly violent over the course of October, with two protesters shot and a police officer slashed. Efforts by Hong Kong’s authorities to quell the protests have largely failed, from banning marches and withdrawing the proposed extradition bill, to using an emergency law to outlaw face masks and pledging to make housing more affordable.

The protests have been cited as inspiration for demonstrators around the world who’ve flooded the streets of major cities this month over economic inequality, regional grievances and alleged corruption.

Spanish authorities are facing down separatist riots in Catalonia. In Chile, opposition to a 4-cent subway-fare hike has snowballed into the worst unrest there in decades, with at least 18 people killed so far. And in Lebanon, nationwide protests for more than a week, including hundreds of thousands demonstrating in Beirut, have pressured the country’s leader to shake up his Cabinet. There have also been protests in Iraq.

Last week, reports surfaced that China’s leaders were mulling a plan to replace Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam by early next year in a bid to calm public anger.

Data due in Hong Kong this week will likely signal a technical recession is under way after a contraction in the second quarter.


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