Hong Kong protesters call on Donald Trump to 'liberate' the city | Daily Mail Online

Thousands of protesters in Hong Kong marched to the US Consulate today to drum up international support, calling on President Donald Trump to liberate the city as street fires started by demonstrators raged on.

Police stood by as anti-government activists waved Stars and Stripes flags and placards appealing for help and democracy on Sunday, following another night of violence in the 14th week of unrest.   

The city turned to chaos over the weekend with lasers being used to confuse police who fought back with painful tear gas to disperse crowds, windows being smashed and street fires being started.

A fire set by protesters burns at an entrance to the Central MTR subway station in Hong Kong. Demonstrators descended on to the city's Central district blocking roads and forcing the closure of an underground rail station today

Riot police fire tear gas outside the Causeway Bay MTR subway station during clashes with pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong

Police arrested several pro-democracy activists who rallied nearby at the US consulate in Hong Kong earlier today

Journalists and protesters disperse as tear gas is fired by riot police during clashes at the pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong today

Protesters smashed windows at the entrance of the Central MTR station during ongoing demonstrations calling for democracy 

A riot policeman fires tear gas by an entrance to the Causeway Bay MTR subway station during the violent rallies 

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong marched to the US Consulate today to drum up international support, calling on President Donald Trump to liberate the city

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint in Hong Kong.

Esper made his call in Paris as police in Hong Kong prevented protesters from blocking access to the airport during a security blitz but resisted protesters for a second night running in the densely populated district of Mong Kok.

President Donald Trump, however, has indicated that the US would stay out of a matter he considers to be between Hong Kong and China. He has said he believes the US trade war with China is making Beijing tread carefully.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a summer of unrest kicked off by a proposed law that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters marched from Chater Garden to the US consulate in Hong Kong this morning to pile pressure on to Beijing to meet their demands 

Demonstrators wore masks of various world leaders, including Donald Trump, Emanuel Macron and Boris Johnson, to call on support from other countries. One protester holds a banner that reads: 'Will you stand by and let us burn?'

Dying flames of a once-raging street fire in Hong Kong serve as a reminder of the violence that has been caused during the pro-democracy rallies

A riot police officer is seen brandishing a teargas launcher as he emerges from the Central MTR subway station after breaking barricades to exit 

A protester wears a mask of U.S. President Donald Trump during a march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong

A protester is seen wearing a cap that reads, 'Make Hong Kong Great Again. President Donald Trump, however, has indicated that the US would stay out of a matter he considers to be between Hong Kong and China

One protester was seen wearing a face mask and bandanna while filming one of the raging street fires in the Central district of Hong Kong

Protesters hold up signs in Central, Hong Kong, as they demand democracy from political leaders in Hong Kong

Protesters carry US flags as they march towards the US Consolta during a rally on Sunday. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint in Hong Kong

Many saw the extradition Bill as a glaring example of the Chinese territory's eroding autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. 

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam promised last week to withdraw the Bill - an early demand of protesters - but that has failed to appease the demonstrators, who have widened their demands to include other issues, such as greater democracy.

On Sunday, protesters donned 'Make Hong Kong Great Again' hats and filed past Washington's consulate singing the US national anthem as they  called on the country to pressure Beijing to meet their demands and for Congress to pass a recently proposed bill that expresses support for the movement.

'More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested. We can't do anything but come out onto the streets, I feel hopeless,' 30-year-old protester Jenny Chan, told AFP.

'I think aside from foreign countries, no one can really help us,' she added.

On Saturday, Hong Kong turned to chaos as bonfires and debris lined the streets, with dozens of activists needing urgent first aid after being hit by clouds of painful tear gas.

Handheld lasers, which emit powerful beams of green and blue light, were used by pro-democracy activists to daze officers and scramble face recognition cameras.   

A woman pours water over her eyes after riot police fired a tear gas cannister during a pro-democracy rally at Causeway Bay station in Hong Kong

A protester was captured throwing more cardboard on to a Hong Kong street fire to keep it going 

A protester holds up a sign featuring U.S. President Donald Trump atop a tank as the city turned into a chaos for another day

Police stood stood by as anti-government activists waved Stars and Stripes flags appealing help and democracy on Sunday, following another night of violence in the 14th week of unrest

Earlier in the day police stopped the planned disruption at the airport with a security blitz that included checking passengers on trains and buses heading to the airport and limiting train services.

Hong Kong's airport, the world's eighth busiest, has been a frequent target during the protests. Airport operations ran normally on Saturday following the security operation.  

Protesters staged rallies at subway stations and malls on Saturday evening owned by the rail link operator MTR, accusing it of helping police during a recent violent raid at one station.

The Prince Edward station was shut for a second day on Saturday after protesters started gathering, laying white flowers and burning paper offerings at the station's exit as a sign of mourning.

When protesters refused to disperse and began setting fire to debris near the station, riot police chased them and used pepper spray.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of anti-government protests for the past three months. The demonstrations were initially sparked by a proposed law that would allow some criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland China to stand trial

A protester wears a mask bearing the American flag attends a march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong

Protesters wave United States flags and carry placards during a protest in Hong Kong on Sunday as they demand democracry

A protester wears an anonymous mask as he joins the crowds on a march to plea for international help 

The station has been a focus this past week for protesters, who want the rail operator to release security camera footage to substantiate rumours that some people died during the police.

Police have reiterated that there have been no deaths since the protests began in early June and condemned the online rumours as malicious.

Violent clashes separately took place at a station in Sha Tin new town, where protesters chased police officers into the control room before riot police arrived. Several people were detained. 

Over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her pleas for a peaceful solution to the political turmoil during her trip to Beijing, calling for the 'violence' not to end in 'catastrophe'. 

Protesters wave United States flags during a protest in Hong Kong. Many saw the extradition Bill as a glaring example of the Chinese territory's eroding autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997

Her trip to Beijing, to strengthen ties between German and Chinese markets, has been overshadowed by the protests in Hong Kong. 

The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a 'one country, two systems' formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. Many Hong Kong residents fear Beijing is eroding that autonomy. 

Many saw the extradition Bill as a glaring example of the Chinese territory's eroding autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997.       

Hong Kong police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in another chaotic night on Saturday

Dozens of activists needed urgent first aid after being hit by clouds of painful tear gas. Above: a young woman and a man are treated with water after being affected by tear gas on Saturday

China denies the accusation of meddling and says Hong Kong is an internal affair. It has denounced the protests, accusing the United States and Britain of fomenting unrest, and warned of the damage to the economy.

The persistent violence has hurt Hong Kong's economy and sparked fears of a Chinese military intervention. Chinese officials have warned that Beijing will 'not sit idly by' if the situation worsens.

Protesters have adopted a new slogan, 'Five key demands, not one less.' In addition to the withdrawal of the extradition bill, they want an independent investigation into accusations of police brutality, the unconditional release of those detained during the protests, no more labeling of the protests as riots and direct elections of the city's leaders. 

Lam has rejected those demands.

The protests show no signs of abating ahead of China's National Day celebrations on October 1, despite Lam's concession on the extradition bill. 

The increased scrutiny was aimed at avoiding the chaos of last weekend, when protesters blocked airport approach roads, threw debris onto train tracks and subway stations in a 'stress test' protest. Above: Riot police advance during a protest near Mong Kok police station in Hong Kong on Saturday

What is happening in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong protesters are demanding democratic reforms and the complete withdraw of a law bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. Protesters are pictured waving their phones in a demonstration on August 28

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of anti-government protests for the past three months. The demonstrations were initially sparked by a proposed law that would allow some criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland China to stand trial.

Hong Kong is ruled under the 'one country, two system' policy and has different legal and governing systems to mainland China. The principle was agreed on by China and the UK before the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

However, many residents in the semi-autonomous city feel that their freedoms are eroding due to the tight political grip of Beijing.

The extradition bill was suspended indefinitely by the government in June, but the rallies have morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that calls for government reforms and universal suffrage, among others.

Protesters are also demanding an independent enquiry into what they view as excessive violence from the police during clashes.

Mass rallies, sometimes attended by as many as two million people, have taken place every weekend for 13 weeks since June 9.

Protesters have targeted government buildings, Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong, shopping centres and international airport to express their demands. 

The demonstrations often start with a peaceful march or sit-in and end up in violent clashes between activists and police. 

A repeated pattern sees activists throwing items such as bricks and petrol bombs at the police and anti-riot officers firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

More than 1,180 people have been arrested in connection with the protests.

Beijing has described the situation in Hong Kong the 'worst crisis' the city has seen since its handover in 1997. It has also called some activists 'rioters' and 'political terrorists'.

It is widely believed that the central government is determined to quell the chaos before October 1 when the country will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. 

The city's chief executive Carrie Lam formally withdrew the extradition bill on September 4 in a bid to ease the chaos. 

She is yet to satisfy the protesters' other demands. 

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