Hong Kong protesters condemn ‘unreasonable’ police violence
Robie de Guzman • June 14, 2019 • 1958
Hong Kong demonstrators who experienced tear gas when the anti-extradition protest turned violent said on Thursday (June 13) that they condemned the ‘unreasonable’ use of force by the police.
Hundreds of people remained on the streets to protest a planned extradition law with mainland China, a day after police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes to clear demonstrators from the legislature, with officials saying 72 people had been admitted to hospital by 10 p.m.
Uniformed police with helmets and shields blocked overhead walkways in Hong Kong’s financial district on Thursday, while a long row of police vans was parked nearby.
Plainclothes police officers checked commuters’ identity papers as a massive clean-up was underway, clearing streets of debris, like broken umbrellas used by protesters to protect themselves and broken baricades, left from the violent clashes.
Protesters, some still wearing face masks and goggles in case police once again use tear gas, were joined by students during the day.
But their numbers eased off later to a few hundred, after a Legislative Council meeting to discuss the extradition bill was postponed. (REUTERS)
Amnesty International accused Hong Kong police on Friday (September 19) of torture and other abuses in their handling of more than three months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests, but the police have said they had shown restraint.
Anti-government protesters, many masked and wearing black, have thrown petrol bombs at the police and central government offices, stormed the Legislative Council, blocked roads to the airport, trashed metro stations and set fires on the streets of the Chinese-ruled city.
Police have responded with tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, bean bags and several live rounds fired in the air, warning the crowds beforehand with a series of different coloured banners. They have also been seen beating protesters on the ground with batons.
Amnesty East Asia director Nicholas Bequelim told Reuters a field investigation had documented “disproportionate use of force” by the Hong Kong Police Force as well as mistreatment of detainees, including “a couple cases of torture”.
Amnesty also said the investigation had found “exclusive evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in detention” and called into question the Hong Kong government’s whole approach to the protest movement.
There appeared to be a “level of incompetence” among the police force, with some instances of teargas being deployed without proper justification or clear purpose to maintain public order, Bequelim said.
Amnesty called on the Hong Kong government to conduct a dialogue with the protesters, and establish an independent investigation committee to look into the accusations of excessive use of force by police. (REUTERS)
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India became the latest country after Brazil and Thailand to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in what could potentially be the biggest move against vaping globally over growing health concerns.
The ban, which also covers the production, import and advertising of e-cigarettes, cuts off a huge future market from e-cigarette makers at a time when the number of people smoking worldwide is declining.
“There has been a 77 percent increase in addiction of e-cigarettes among school-going or college-going young adults, teenagers, and children because nicotine addiction is quick and it is harmful as well,” Indian Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Preeti Sudan said.
India has 106 million smokers, second only to China.
The ban could also dash the expansion plans of companies such as Altria, backed Juul Labs, and Philip Morris International into the country.
“$150 billion opportunity, now that’s what is estimated, the nicotine market is going to be, why are we denying our farmers that, why are we denying our citizens a right to a less harmful product, these are questions that I would really like to ask the government,” Praveen Rikhy, Trade Representatives of endsin India said. (Reuters)
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