Hong Kong protesters hoist statue of injured woman

Protesters with the statue.
Protesters with the statue. Photo credit: Getty

Hong Kong protesters have scaled the city's Lion Rock peak and hoisted a large statue they called 'Lady Liberty' to rally anti-government activists ahead of more planned demonstrations in the Asian financial hub.

The three-metre statue, wearing a gas mask, helmet and protective goggles, was carried up the 500-metre peak before dawn on Sunday by several dozen protesters, some wearing head lamps, during an overnight thunderstorm.

It held a black banner that read "Revolution of our time, Liberate Hong Kong" and could be seen from the city below.

The statue represented an injured woman protester believed by activists to have been shot in the eye by a police projectile. One of the protesters told Reuters he hoped it would inspire Hong Kong people to keep fighting.

"We are telling people that you mustn't give up. All problems can be resolved with Hong Kong people's persistence and hard work to reach our aims," he said.

Hong Kong has been battered by four months of often massive and violent protests against what is seen as Beijing's tightening grip on the Chinese-ruled city, and more protests are planned for Sunday.

Petrol bombs were thrown inside a Hong Kong metro rail station on Saturday but no one was injured, the government said.

The MTR, which usually carries some five million people daily, will shut early on Sunday and the Airport Express will not stop between central Hong Kong and the airport.

Metro stations have been torched and ticketing machines damaged because protesters believe MTR management, at the instruction of the government, has closed stations to hinder protesters' movements. It was forced to shut down completely last week.

The unrest has plunged the city into its worst crisis since Britain handed it back to China in 1997 and poses the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Protesters believe China has been eroding Hong Kong's freedoms, guaranteed under a "one country, two systems" formula introduced with the 1997 handover.

After almost a week of relative calm, following some of the worst violence since the unrest started, hundreds of protesters wearing face masks staged a peaceful march in Kowloon on Saturday, with only a small group trashing shops and mainland China banks.

The government said petrol bombs were thrown into the entrance of the Kowloon Tong station and a Kowloon government office was set on fire.

Riot police deployed to the streets but protesters had dispersed without any major confrontation by late Saturday night.

The Hong Kong government introduced colonial-era emergency laws last week to ban the wearing of face masks at public rallies, a move that sparked some of the worst violence since the unrest started in June.

Reuters

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