Hong Kong Protesters Interrupt Morning Commute With Demonstrations

July 30, 2019 Updated: July 30, 2019

HONG KONG—Protesters blocked subway train doors on July 30 in their latest protest action to demand greater accountability from the Hong Kong government.

Service was delayed and partially suspended on the Island and Kwun Tong lines, subway operator MTR said. It cited “a number of train door obstructions” as well as someone activating a safety device at a platform on the Kwun Tong line.

The action targeted rush hour traffic at several stations. MTR responded by providing minibuses to replace delayed trains and normal service was restored by around noon.

Protesters block train car doors in Hong Kong on July 30, 2019. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Protester Ken Chan said he wanted MTR officials to explain why they allegedly failed to take action on July 21 when a large gang of men in white shirts brutally beat dozens of people inside the Yuen Long metro station as a massive protest was winding down.

“How could they let the triads in white attack people on the platform randomly, including the elderly and children in the train?” said Chan, 32, using the common term for members of organized crime groups. “Some of the elderly got smacked on their heads, but (MTR staff) turned a blind eye to it.”

Some politicians and activists have long linked Hong Kong’s shadowy network of triad criminal gangs to political intimidation and violence in recent years.

Lorraine Lee, 26, said the subway disruption was an attempt to remind people of the government’s alleged failure to deal with social, economic and political injustices.

“The government has not been addressing the problems in our society,” Lee said. “That is why now Hongkongers have no choice but to use different ‘creative’ approaches to remind people what is happening in Hong Kong.”

AP video showed heated exchanges at Tiu Keng Leng station, where a crowd of protesters and commuters filled the platform and a stopped train.

Passengers argue with protesters who disrupted a subway line in Hong Kong on July 30, 2019. (Vincent Yu/AP)

The disruption is part of a pro-democracy movement that has seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets this summer for marches and rallies. The protests have shaken the government in Hong Kong and raised concerns in Beijing. Hong Kong is part of China but has a fair degree of autonomy in local affairs.

Posts on Twitter showed long lines of commuters waiting for free shuttle buses provided by MTR to other subway stops.

Protesters conducted a similar action to block trains last week.

Activists began protesting in early June for the government to withdraw an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their legal rights would be threatened. The government suspended the bill, but the protests have expanded to calls for democracy and government accountability.

On July 28, police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets to drive back protesters blocking Hong Kong streets with road signs and umbrellas.

Yuen Long Hong Kong
Riot police fire tear gas towards protesters in the district of Yuen Long, Hong Kong on July 27, 2019. (Laurel Chor/Getty Images)

The protesters have demanded an independent inquiry into police conduct at the protests, which they say has been abusive.

On July 27, Hong Kong police fired tear gas, swung batons and forcefully cleared out protesters who defied warnings not to march.

By Katie Tam. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

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