Hong Kong tensions ease after weekend's rally for Uighurs

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People wear masks during a rally to show support for Uighurs and their fight for human rights in Hong Kong, on Dec 22, 2019. PHOTO: AP
Police arrest a Hong Kong protester after a Chinese flag was removed from a flag pole at a rally in support of Xinjiang Uighurs' human rights in Hong Kong on Dec 22, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
Police detain a Hong Kong protester at a rally in support of the human rights of Xinjiang Uighurs in Hong Kong on Dec 22, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
Hong Kong protesters rally in support of the human rights of Xinjiang Uighurs in Hong Kong on Dec 22, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong's thoroughfares returned to relative normality going into the shortened working week after a tense weekend in which a police officer drew and pointed his revolver at a protesting crowd.

No shots were fired.

Sunday's (Dec 22) incident came after a reported attack on police during a demonstration in support of China's Uighur minority.

There was no escalation beyond the now-routine scuffles and arrests.

The often-violent protests of the last six months have centred on the island's freedom from the mainland China's laws.

But on Sunday evening, the demonstrations expanded to the rights of the Uighurs, a minority in western China's province of Xinjiang.

"Upwards of a million" Uighurs have been detained, the United Nations has said. They are subject to regular arrest, confinement to re-education camps and to sophisticated electronic surveillance.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered - at first peacefully - at Edinburgh Place in support of the Uighurs.

Police stormed the rally, witnesses said, after a Chinese flag was ripped off a pole near City Hall.

The police said in a statement that when they tried to make an arrest, protesters hurled objects, and one person tried to snatch an officer's gun.

At least two people were arrested, the police said.

In another instance of the protests expanding beyond their initial scope, a demonstration is planned on Monday, essentially against a police crackdown on protesters' finances.

The protest is in support of the Spark Alliance, a shadowy group that has raised money to help support the demonstrators.

Last week, the police arrested four people connected with the alliance for suspected money-laundering.

The authorities froze HK$70 million (S$12 million) of bank deposits and personal insurance products linked to the fund, while confiscating HK$130,000 in cash.

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