“If you think this is oppressive, wait until they start making you bake gay cakes.”

From the Associated Press:

HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong police used tear gas Sunday and warned of further measures as they tried to clear thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered at government headquarters in a challenge to Beijing over its decision to restrict democratic reforms for the semiautonomous city.

After spending hours holding the protesters at bay, police lobbed canisters of tear gas into the crowd on Sunday evening. The searing fumes sent demonstrators fleeing down the road, but many came right back to continue their protest.

The protesters were trying to join a sit-in outside government headquarters calling for Beijing to grant genuine democratic reforms to the former British colony. The sit-in, however, became overshadowed by running confrontations on the surrounding streets between police and those who were blocked from entering the protest zone.

Students and activists have been camped out since late Friday on the streets outside the government complex, located just a few blocks from Hong Kong’s downtown financial district. Students started the rally, but leaders of the broader Occupy Central civil disobedience movement said early Sunday that they were joining them to kick-start a long-threatened mass sit-in to demand that an election for Hong Kong’s leader be held without Beijing’s interference.

Police used the tear gas after the protest spiraled into an extraordinary scene of chaos, with the demonstrators jamming a busy road and clashing with officers wielding pepper spray.

“It was very cruel for the police to use such harsh violence on protesters who had been completely peaceful,” said one of the demonstrators, Cecily Lui, a 30-year-old clerk. “They were just sitting down on the road asking to speak with (Hong Kong leader) Leung Chun-ying to start a dialogue. Now, police have solved nothing and students are more resolved to stay.”

After using the tear gas, police issued a statement urging the protesters to “leave peacefully and orderly.”

“Otherwise police will use a higher level of force in order to restore public order and safeguard public safety,” the statement warned.

For more images, check out Vox.

4 replies »

  1. Love ya, Chris. When you’re ready to have an open discussion about government use of force vis-à-vis gay rights and religious freedom, come on over to M*.

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