Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters have trampled a Chinese flag, set street fires and damaged train stations in another weekend of violent demonstrations.
Protesters also smashed surveillance cameras and electronic ticket sensors, as the former colony’s ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations took another violent turn.
The protesters used hammers to knock the ticket sensors off gates and spray-painted and broke the screens of ticket machines, using umbrellas to shield their identities.
The late Sunday afternoon attack on Shatin station came as a protest at which activists folded paper “origami” cranes was winding down at a shopping centre adjacent to the station.
Some put a Chinese flag on the floor and took turns running over it, before defacing it and putting it in a bin outside. The bin was then pushed into a nearby river.
Riot police arrived after the attack and guarded the station after it was closed, with a metal grill pulled down to block entry.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, now in their fourth month, have often descended into violence late in the day and at night.
A hardcore group of protesters says the extreme actions are needed to get the government’s attention.
On Saturday night, police used tear gas and rubber rounds against protesters who threw petrol bombs towards them and set fires in streets.
Before the origami-folding, protesters at the Shatin New Town Plaza chanted slogans and sang a song that has become their anthem, backed by a small group playing on woodwind and brass instruments through their masks.
Many lined the balustrades of the three higher floors overlooking where others gathered in the wide space below.
Transit authorities closed two stations on the airport express train to guard against a possible disruption to the transportation hub, but none had materialised by late Sunday afternoon.
The Hong Kong International Airport Authority said the train would operate between the airport and the terminus station in the centre of the city, without making its usual stops in between. Some airport bus routes were also suspended.
Passengers were advised to leave sufficient time to reach the airport.