Riot police have thrown teargas at thousands of protesters and beat many of them after a tense stand-off in Hong Kong.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators were holding an anti-government rally on Saturday, marking the city’s 12th week of protests.
As protesters reached a police station in mid-afternoon, several of them built barricades with bamboo rods and plastic traffic barriers and faced off with riot police for a couple of hours.
At about 4.40pm, hundreds of officers charged at the protesters, throwing teargas and beating them as they fled. At one point, objects on the ground were on fire as police chased protesters along the streets and into nearby buildings.
“Protesters are simply not able to defend themselves. Police are abusing their powers,” said a man watching the scene.
It was difficult for protesters to leave because the nearest metro station had closed, along with several others on the line.
The clearing operation lasted around 15 minutes, after which the street was left eerily empty. A message spray painted on the road said: “Hopes are in the people, transformation begins in struggles.”
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