New Chinese troops arrive in HK ahead of planned rallies, Latest World News - The New Paper

New Chinese troops arrive in HK ahead of planned rallies

This article is more than 12 months old

Protesters are still expected to take to the streets tomorrow despite police denying permission

HONG KONG: China's military yesterday said fresh troops had arrived in Hong Kong as part of a routine "rotation", as the city prepares for more political rallies against Beijing's tightening grip on the city.

State media published a video of armoured personnel carriers and trucks driving across the Hong Kong border.

"The Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Thursday morning completed the 22nd rotation since it began garrisoning Hong Kong in 1997," Xinhua news agency reported.

The well-publicised troop movement comes days before a new mass rally scheduled for tomorrow which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to Hong Kong's streets.

Hong Kong has sunk deep into political unrest, prompting Beijing to ramp up its rhetoric, describing some protest actions as "terrorist-like".

Permission for tomorrow's mass rally was denied by Hong Kong police on security grounds, raising the likelihood of another weekend of clashes between police and protesters, who will likely come out in defiance of the ban.

In a letter to the rally organisers, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), police said they feared some participants would commit "violent and destructive acts".

Protesters have so far carried out "arson and large-scale road blockades" and "used petrol bombs, steel balls, bricks, long spears, metal poles, as well as various self-made weapons to destroy public property", the letter said of previous rallies.

The protests were ignited when the city's government tried to pass a Bill allowing extraditions to China.

But they have evolved into a wider call for greater democracy and an investigation into allegations of police brutality.

The mainly young protesters say freedoms within Hong Kong are being eroded by Beijing.

On Sunday, police deployed water cannons and fired a warning gunshot to fend off radical protesters after a sanctioned rally turned ugly, in some of the worst violence of the past three months.

Tomorrow's rally is set to mark five years since Beijing rejected political reforms in Hong Kong, a decision that sparked the 79-day Umbrella Movement.

The CHRF, responsible for the largest rallies the city has seen in decades, said it would appeal the decision.

"You can see the police's course of action is intensifying, and you can see (Hong Kong leader) Carrie Lam has in fact no intention to let Hong Kong return to peace," the group's leader Jimmy Sham told reporters. - AFP