Police, protesters clash at Hong Kong shopping centre

Police and protesters clashed at a Hong Kong shopping mall on Saturday where the latter were demanding mainland Chinese traders leave the territory in a fresh weekend of anti-government tensions.

The protest in Sheung Shui, near Hong Kong’s boundary with the mainland, was part of efforts to pressure the government by disrupting economic activity.

About 100 protesters marched through the mall shouting, “Liberate Hong Kong!” and “Return to the mainland!”

Some shoppers argued with police in olive fatigues and helmets who blocked walkways in the mall.

Police in civilian clothes with clubs tackled and handcuffed some protesters. One officer used pepper spray on protesters and reporters.

Government broadcaster RTHK reported 14 people were detained.

“This protest is taking place in the north district near mainland China – targeting mainland Chinese traders,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi said reporting from Hong Kong. “The whole idea is to cause disruption to mainland Chinese who practise parallel trading [in Hong Kong].”

Parallel trading, Looi added, had been a contentious issue for years – where traders from mainland China buy goods in bulk and resell them in mainland China for high profits.

Hong Kong residents have criticised the practice, which they say drives up the prices and causes a shortage of items, including daily necessities in the semiautonomous region, she added.

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