Leaders at the Group of Seven (G-7) meetings in Biarritz, France, issued a joint statement on Monday, Aug. 26, supporting Hong Kong’s autonomy, and called for calm amid the riots. “The G-7 reaffirms the existence and the importance of the 1984 Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong and calls for avoiding violence,” read the statement.
New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and France all had “deep concern” for the events unfolding in Hong Kong, as reported by CNA. “The G-7 nations all want to support a stable and prosperous Hong Kong and we remain collectively committed to the one-country, two-systems framework,” said the prime minister.
President Trump has urged China to treat Hong Kong “humanely,” and has indicated a deal to break the trade war between the two countries may not be possible if the Chinese communist party resorts to violence against the protesters.
“I think it would be very hard to deal if they do violence [in Hong Kong],” President Trump said. “I mean, if it’s another Tiananmen Square, I think it’s a very hard thing to do. I really do believe that if [China restraining itself from violence] weren’t part of the [trade] deal, possibly something would have happened already a long time ago.”
Thousands of Chinese troops have amassed near the Hong Kong border in the Shenzhen Province. Tens of thousands of protesters marched in the pouring rain on Sunday following on from the previous day saw the most volatile clashes between police and demonstrators since the protests began 12 weeks ago.
A warning shot was fired on the weekend by a Hong Kong policeman after police drew their guns. “The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation.”
Authorities said in a statement that “… a total of 86 people were arrested over the weekend, including a 12-year-old boy. Police said they used 215 tear gas canisters, 72 rubber bullets, 44 sponge rounds, and four bean bag rounds during the weekend clashes, according to a report by The Strait Times.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations Mak Chin Ho said, “Over 100 rioters armed with offensive weapons surrounded and attacked our officers,” in a statement. “I must emphasize the officers demonstrated great restraint. Their use of force was indeed necessary and reasonable. It was to protect any person, including our officers themselves, from death or serious bodily injury,” he added.
On Monday, Aug. 26, police made more arrests, detaining 36 people. They used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters. According to reports, 21 police officers were injured in the clashes. Police said in a statement the protesters were “outrageous and have overstepped the bottom line of a civilized society,” and added that they “will take relentless enforcement action to bring the persons involved to justice.”
The pro-democracy protests began in June, over the now suspended extradition bill, but protesters are now fighting for “one country, two systems,” and the protesters’ five key demands are: for the government to fully withdraw the highly divisive extradition bill that is now suspended indefinitely, the resignation of leader Carrie Lam, to have an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, removal of the June 12 protest as a riot; amnesty for those arrested, and more democratic freedom.
One middle-aged protester, M Sung, 53, a software engineer said he has been at every protest since June. “We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems,’ otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,” he said.
“If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,” he added.