MTR services resume after violent HK protests forced closure of Wan Chai, Admiralty and Causeway Bay stations

17-Sep-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Rail services resumed on Monday morning, the day after anti-government protesters threw petrol bombs into MTR stations for the first time.

MTR Corporation shut down Wan Chai and Admiralty stations on Sunday afternoon for safety reasons, as an illegal but peaceful protest turned into a night of violence.

The rail operator also closed the Causeway Bay hub at 7.30pm on the same grounds.

Services were up and running again for the Monday morning commute, but several stations bore scars from Sunday’s chaos.

Burn marks were seen on the ground at two entrances of Wan Chai station, where protesters had set fires and hurled petrol bombs.

Shards of broken glass at the station were also covered by white canvas, while some surveillance cameras were wrapped in black plastic.

At Admiralty station, which also suffered heavy damage, exit A was surrounded by iron and plastic barriers, replacing the glass railings smashed by radical protesters. A surveillance camera was destroyed at exit C2.

Masked demonstrators vandalised a number of MTR stations on the Island line, as protesters marched from Causeway Bay to Admiralty in defiance of a police ban on Sunday.

It was Hong Kong’s 15th straight weekend of social unrest, since the government’s push for an extradition bill in June triggered a massive backlash. The city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has since pledged to withdraw the legislation.

Some protesters threw petrol bombs into Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations, according to the city’s railway operator MTR Corporation.

Referring to incidents at MTR stations and elsewhere, police condemned “violent acts which disregarded law and order” carried out by protesters, in a statement released on Monday.

The statement said the hurling of petrol bombs outside Wan Chai’s MTR station and the nearby police headquarters posed a serious danger to those at the scene.

“Of course this is not right,” Wong Kwok-kwon, 82, who has been distributing free newspapers at Wan Chai station for four years, said at the scene on Monday.

Inside the concourse of Wan Chai station, the screens on several turnstiles were smashed again and could not display any fare information.

“The protesters are damaging the country and Hong Kong. Police should arrest them all,” Wong said.

A second-year student at the University of Hong Kong, who only gave her surname as Chau, said: “I could understand the tensions and why they [protesters] are angry, but I still feel that this is a bit too much.”

It was past the point where demonstrators felt they could stick with peaceful means of protest, but their actions were causing a lot of trouble for residents, according to Chau, who lives in Yau Tong.

Cindy Ho, a 32-year-old nurse, was not worried about her commute despite the clashes on Sunday.

“It’s been quite often over the past three months that people go to work and school normally after all the chaos, as if nothing happened a day earlier,” said Ho, who used the MTR on Monday to attend an appointment near Admiralty.

She said protests did not have a big impact on her daily life, because she had adjusted her schedule according to news reports of demonstrations.

“Everyone wants a resolution, but I believe it will take some time,” she said.

Also at Admiralty station, Celia Chiu, 30, said she could understand why protesters carried out violent actions, adding: “I hope the government will respond to the demands of the citizens, and stop neglecting others’ opinions and insisting on their own way.”

At least eight people were wounded, three seriously, during clashes across the city on Sunday.

The MTR Corp strongly condemned the violent acts in a statement on Sunday, saying Tin Hau and Admiralty stations were also severely damaged.


Category: Hong Kong

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