Police and protesters clashed yesterday at the end of a demonstration against interference by Beijing’s liaison office in last week’s election of a new chief executive.
There were reports of scuffles and use by police of pepper spray while some protesters were said to have burned a Hong Kong flag.
The protest “shows many locals are discontented with the liaison office, which has interfered in our election and freedom of speech. It damaged the core values that Hong Kong has cherished and smashed the ‘one country, two systems’ as promised in the Basic Law,” said Eric Lai, spokesman of the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition of 49 NGOs, which organised the action.
The new chief executive, CY Leung, was chosen on March 25 by just 1,193 members of a election committee in a process that has been roundly criticised for lacking transparency or democracy. Leung was widely regarded as Beijing’s choice following scandals involving his rivals.
Around 15,000 people marched to the office in Western, according to the Front.
But police put the number nearer 5,000.
Protesters called for Leung to step down.
Lai said the Front had always held peaceful protests but that police did not fulfil their promise and sent more officers to try to prevent the protestors getting near the liaison office.