A rally in Tin Shui Wai ended with scuffles last night after protesters surrounded and allegedly beat a man they accused of taking their photographs.
About 300 people had gathered at Ginza Square for a rally to mark the eve of the six-month anniversary of the Yuen Long station mob attack. According to Apple Daily, it was a largely peaceful event, organized by local community groups in Yuen Long, and featuring a sort of living tableau reenacting scenes from the attack, speeches by lawmakers and other community figures, and a musical performance.
Police had approved the rally beforehand, and it was due to end at 10pm. But things were winding down, shortly after the musical performance started, there were scuffles in the crowd, and black-clad protesters started to surround a man in a red hoodie whom they accused of taking photos of attendees, with at least one person physically attacking him.
#LIVE: The atmosphere of the rally suddenly intensifies after a man was punched in his face. Other people claim he took pictures of the participants in the rally. Relative peace has been interrupted. #HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/nArSdbRCu9
— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) January 20, 2020
One video by Stand News shows volunteer first-aiders at the scene tending to the man, who appears to have a bruise on his head. The man can be heard repeatedly telling the first-aiders he doesn’t need help and isn’t sick.
Dozens of riot police arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and separated the man from the crowd. He was then taken to an ambulance for treatment, but didn’t need to be taken to hospital.
Now TV News reported that police also briefly detained five men on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons, but ultimately let them go.
Ming Pao reported last night the MTR will shut Yuen Long station at 3pm today to prevent people from gathering at the station to mark the anniversary, as they have in the past.
The Yuen Long station attack on July 21 — often referred to as the “721 incident” — saw a mob of men in white shirts enter the station and begin to attack anti-government demonstrators returning home from a rally on Hong Kong Island, as well as commuters, journalists, and even a local politician.
It was a watershed moment for the protest movement, and severely damaged public confidence in the Hong Kong police, as officers took more than 40 minutes to arrive at the scene, with police at two nearby police stations even closed their doors on people trying to file police reports over the incident.
So far, at least 37 people — some with links to triads — have been arrested for their alleged roles in attack.