Thousands of protesters in Hong Kong turned out Saturday to demonstrate against traders from mainland China.
The demonstration was mounted in Sheung Shui, a town near the Chinese city of Shenzhen, along the border with Hong Kong.
The protesters want traders from China to stop buying goods in Hong Kong that the traders then sell on the mainland.
Many of the stores in the area of the demonstration in Sheung Shui were shuttered.
The protests started peacefully, but ended with clashes between the demonstrators and the police, who used pepper spray on the crowd. Hong Kong Protesters United Despite Differences Unofficial policy of present protest campaign — ‘no division’— is sharp contrast from 2014 democracy campaign that dissolved into bitter fights that left opposition camp fractured
Hong Kong has been the site of weekend demonstrations for weeks.
The protests began because of a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong criminal suspects to mainland China.
After several weeks of controversy and large, angry street protests, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam recently said the extradition bill is “dead.”
Lam called the attempts at passing the bill “a total failure,” but did not say whether the bill is being withdrawn, as protesters have demanded.
The bill sparked massive demonstrations from the moment it was introduced in April, with opponents alarmed about extraditing criminal suspects to China, which has a substantially different legal system than Hong Kong. The sentiment was shared along a wide cross section of Hong Kong society, from international business groups to legal societies and pro-democracy parties.
The former British colony was granted special autonomy for 50 years after it returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. But many in Hong Kong are concerned that China is slowly encroaching on those rights and tightening its grip on the territory.
The extradition debate has seen the government unwittingly reignite Hong Kong’s protest movement, and calls for the direct election of its leader, five years after 2014’s so-called Umbrella Movement democracy protests came to an end.