Dozens arrested after shopping protest at HK border town

HONG KONG: Scuffles erupted between police and protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, with dozens of arrests made, after thousands marched near the border, shouting pro-democracy slogans and venting their anger at mainland Chinese traders.
The demonstrators in Sheung Shui took aim at so-called “parallel traders” from China who buy vast amounts of duty free goods in Hong Kong and take them back to the mainland to sell at a profit. Locals say it pushes up prices, overcrowds neighbourhoods and adds to growing tensions between Hong Kong residents and mainland Chinese.
“The mainland Chinese come here, block the streets with their bags … rents have gone up and it has made things more expensive for Hong Kongers,” said Jasmin, a 19-year old student dressed all in black, who only gave her first name.
“I want the government to know that too many of them are coming over here.”
The marchers, including families with children, shouted slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times!” and “Patriots use China-made products, don’t parallel trade!”
Organisers estimated 10,000 people took part in the march, while police estimated a crowd of 2,500 at its peak. After the march ended, protesters dressed in black and wearing face masks remained in the area despite calls from organisers to disperse immediately. At one point, riot police stormed through, hitting protesters with batons and using pepper spray. It was unclear what triggered their intervention.
A few dozen people were arrested. They were seen sitting on the ground and leaning against a wall while police took down their details and were later escorted into two white buses.
Many shops in the area were closed.
Earlier in the day, in a separated incident, police fired tear gas to disperse a group of protesters hurling petrol bombs over the fence of the Sheung Shui police station before the march, damaging one police vehicle. — Reuters