12-year-old among 86 arrested during weekend protests in Hong Kong
August 26 2019 01:06 PM
Police fire tear gas during a protest in Tsuen Wan district of Hong Kong
Police fire tear gas during a protest in Tsuen Wan district of Hong Kong

Dpa/Hong Kong

Hong Kong police said on Monday they had arrested 86 people in total over an intense weekend of anti-government protests, including a 12-year-old child.

The boy was receiving treatment in hospital for an ‘illness,’ police said, without giving further details.

Protesters were charged with various offences including unlawful assembly, possession of an offensive weapon and assaulting police officers.

An assistant commissioner of police, Mak Chin-ho, on Monday defended police actions, saying that the use of force was necessary to quell increasing violence.

Mass protests began on June 9 against a legislative bill that would have allowed for criminal extradition to mainland China, which has a separate legal system from Hong Kong. Many Hong Kongers have broader fears that their special status is under threat from Beijing.

Mak also condemned the damage to smart CCTV posts, which protesters tore down on Saturday in eastern Kowloon.

‘Their destructive acts are rampant and reckless. They are not tolerated by any civilized society,’ he said.

The chaotic weekend saw protesters throw rocks and petrol bombs at riot police from behind barricades assembled on major roads in the Kowloon peninsula.

Late Sunday, a group armed with bamboo poles also clashed with riot police, prompting six officers to draw their guns and one officer to fire a warning shot.

‘I must emphasize the officer demonstrated great restraint,’ Mak told reporters.

‘Their use of force was indeed necessary and reasonable, it was to protect every person including our officers themselves from death and serious bodily injury.’  Police deployed a water cannon for the first time on Sunday and used extensive tear gas over the weekend in an attempt to disperse crowds.

A total of 48 people were also injured over the weekend, according to Hong Kong's Hospital Authority.

More than 850 people have been arrested since protests began in early June.

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