MANILA — The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong urged Filipinos there on Monday to avoid areas where pro-democracy protesters planned demonstrations this Christmas week, including prime shopping malls, the latest in more than 6 months of unrest.
The Consulate, in a statement, said it received reports that protesters would converge in the following areas on these dates.
DEC. 24, TUESDAY
Shopping malls in Sha Tin, Yuen Long. Tseung Kwan O, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Kowloon Bay, Kwun Tong, Causeway Bay, Central and Tai Koo
DEC. 25 AND 26, WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tsin Sha Tsui, Mong kok, Sha tin, Yuen Long, and Central; malls in other districts
DEC. 30, MONDAY
Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Revenue Tower, and Wan Chai
Authorities advised Filipinos to beware of "flash rallies" that had no prior announcements, stay at home if possible, and refrain from wearing black or white, which protesters often wear.
Filipinos who need assistance may call the Philippine Consulate at +852 9155 4023, it said.
This week's protests follow a weekend of rallies, including one on Sunday, which ended in chaotic clashes between black-clad, masked demonstrators who kicked and beat police officers, hurling bricks and glass at them.
Police retaliated with bursts of pepper spray and one officer pulled out a gun towards a crowd but did not fire, according to Reuters witnesses and Cable Television.
Protests in Hong Kong are now on their seventh month, albeit in a relative lull compared to the scale and intensity of violence since they started in June.
Many residents are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
China denies interfering and says it is committed to the “1 country, 2 systems” formula put in place at the time and has blamed foreign forces for fomenting unrest.
Many Hong Kong people are also furious at perceived police brutality, and are demanding an independent investigation into allegations of excessive force. Other demands include the release of all arrested demonstrators and full democracy.
- With reports from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News and Reuters