Police this afternoon fired tear gas at protesters in Tin Shui Wai, who had gathered at a police station there to speak out against officers’ treatment of a young woman whose genitals were exposed as she was being arrested during protest last night.
Last night, during a standoff between protesters and police, riot police were attempting to detain a woman wearing a dress in Tin Yiu Plaza. As she was being carried away, however, her underpants fell off, exposing her to cameras and the crowd, though police did nothing to rectify the situation, RTHK reports.
At around 1pm today, gender rights advocacy groups gathered at Tin Shui Wai police station to support the arrested woman and to demand that police apologize. Eleven pressure groups, including the Gender and Sexual Justice in Action and the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, called for the protest and condemned the police for “violating women’s dignity.”
At one point, protesters began throwing stones at the police station, with riot police warning protesters that the gathering was an unlawful assembly and that the would soon begin making arrests, Stand News reports.
At around 2:35pm, police fired four to five tear gas rounds at the crowd.
“After repeated and futile warnings, in face of the situation, the Police have deployed tear gas and minimum force to disperse protestors outside the Tin Shui Wai Police Station,” the force said in a statement shortly afterwards. “The Police appeal to everyone in the area to leave immediately. The Police express condemnation against all violent acts by protestors.”
Earlier this morning, Senior Police Superintendent Yolanda Yu had addressed criticism of police’s handling of the the female protester’s arrest, saying three female officers were initially “controlling” the suspect, but were unable to subdue her. At that point two male officers policemen went to help, as the woman was being “uncooperative.”
The suspect, however, was “struggling vigorously,” she added, resulting in “what happened in front of the camera.”
Today’s protest came as part of a broader strike, with demonstrators paralyzing public transport and gathering for rallies all across town.
As of press time, the crowd around the Tin Shui Wai police station was beginning to move along.