Scuffles broke out between police and protesters, and three people were reportedly arrested, as Hongkongers gathered at Po Lam MTR station last night to continue to vent their anger at the city’s railway operator over its recent handling of anti-government protests.
In a sign that Carrie Lam’s surprise withdrawal of the city’s controversial extradition bill won’t be enough to heal the rifts exposed by months of unrest, between 200 to 300 people gathered at Po Lam at around 10:50pm last night to demand the station operator explain why the station was closed on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 31, Ming Pao reports.
That day saw tens of thousands of protesters defy a ban on a rally marking the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s flawed “electoral reform” package, which would have introduced a watered-down form of universal suffrage, and which sparked the 79-day “Umbrella Movement” in 2014.
Apparently bowing to pressure from the mainland, where state media had accused it of colluding with protesters, the MTR Corp announced last month that it would shut stations without warning in the event of violence or vandalism.
RTHK reports that when the station manager arrived at the scene he was quickly surrounded by masked protesters, who blocked him from getting off the train.
The crowd has concerned a station officer to question him about why the Po Lam MTR Station was closed on August 31. The crowd was angry because he left before earlier despite saying he would answer questions pic.twitter.com/3TRrbmIsev
— Chris Lau (@hkchrislau) September 4, 2019
Scuffles ensued, with one protester appearing to tackle the man to the floor at one point.
The manager reportedly suffered injuries to his hands and neck during the fracas, and police showed up to provide an escort.
Other videos show them chasing protesters through the station and making a handful of arrests. Some also show angry protesters yelling at MTR staff and vandalising ticket machines and turnstiles.
Just after midnight, the MTR announced that trains on the Tseung Kwan O line would not stop at Po Lam, and about a hundred riot police arrived at the station, some charged at protesters on the station platform.
Footage from an Apple Daily livestream (at about the 2:55:00 mark below) shows that one of the metal shutters was ultimately rolled down at the station entrance, with a contingent of riot cops standing guard.
Apple Daily reported that people were arrested over the incident last night, but police had not responded to Coconuts HK‘s request for comment as of press time.