Amnesty warns Hong Kong police against use of ‘excessive force’
KONFRONTASI - Amnesty International has warned Hong Kong police against the use of “excessive force” ahead of planned demonstrations by anti-election law protesters.
Protest leaders plan to hold a major demonstration at the main protest camp in central Hong Kong on November 30.
Police on November 26 tore down tents and barricades set up in the busy commercial district of Mong Kok, using “pepper water” against the protesters. Over 140 people were arrested.
According to Amnesty, Hong Kong police used “unjustifiable force against protesters, bystanders and journalists” during the two-day operation.
“The heavy-handed approach by police violates the protesters’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and risks exacerbating an already tense situation,” said Mabel Au, the director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong.
Local news channel, Digital Broadcasting Corporation, also aired footage that showed a police hitting an unarmed man on the back with a baton near the cleared protest site.
Hui Chun-tak, a Hong Kong police spokesman, said Friday that the police force was “highly concerned about a police officer suspected in an incident of unnecessary use of force” during the operation.
The spokesperson added that follow-up action has been initiated and the officer will no longer get involved in “related operations.”
Last week, another main protest area next to the Hong Kong government headquarters was cleared under a court order.
Protests in Hong Kong began late September after China said there would be no open nominations for the 2017 Hong Kong election.
Beijing says it will introduce universal suffrage for the election, but wants a committee to approve the candidates.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The financial hub has enjoyed substantial political autonomy since 1997, when it returned to China after about a century of British colonial rule.[presstv]