A CNN reporter was caught in the midst of a clash between police and protesters this weekend in a Hong Kong subway and her camera crew captured the chaos that began just as they were about to go live on the air.
Correspondent Anna Coren is seen in the video running and being jostled as police suddenly storm the peaceful demonstrators.
Anchor Ana Cabrera described the footage this way by saying, “The action is centered in a small town near the border with China. Protesters turned out in force again for the continuing pro-democracy protests. Last week, a mob attacked demonstrators with iron bars and sticks leaving dozens of people injured. Today police in riot gear fired tear gas and things got extremely violent in a subway station. That’s where our correspondent Anna Coren and her crew got caught in the chaos right before they went on the air.”
When she is able to speak, Coren is heard describing the ongoing scene: “We have just been charged by riot police into the train this is absolute mayhem. They have just come at the protesters and wielding and it is pandemonium inside here. I have no idea how they are planning to disperse these crowds. It is absolute chaos.”
“I have never witnessed anything quite like this where there was a peaceful, peaceful demonstration inside,” she added. “All of a sudden these riot police charged.”
Watch the clip below:
Video by CNN
Demonstrations and marches by thousands of citizens were taking place in the Hong Kong town of Yuen Long on Saturday, close to the border with China. The crowds had gathered to protest a mob attack, said by some to be sanctioned by the government, the previous weekend in the town’s subway station that resulted in 45 people being injured.
Police had denied permission for this weekend’s protest to take place, so when it proceeded anyway they mounted an operation to clear the subway station. The effort reportedly involved the use of tear gas and police firing rubber bullets and lasted four hours.
Eight straight weekends of mass demonstrations have taken place in Hong Kong, with hundreds of thousands in the autonomous territory of the People’s Republic of China demanding greater democracy. Many of the demonstrations have escalated into violence.
The crowds are made up not only of young people who often make up the bulk of dramatic protests wherever they happen in the world, but older citizens as well, who recall Hong Kong having more freedom, before China took control of the territory from Britain in 1997.
“I wave the British flag because I want to remind middle-aged and older people to think back on 1997, and what the British people have built for us,” 63-year-old Alexandra Wong told the New York Times. “The Hong Kong government and Communist regime keep wanting to erode our freedoms, our partial democracy, core values and our rule of law.”
She continued, “I didn’t study politics or social science, but I simply understand how precious democracy is from life experience. I lived in Austria for 12 and a half years. I’ve lived in mainland China and was born and raised in Hong Kong, and have also been an immigrant in the United States. The difference in political systems can alter the people’s sense of happiness so vastly — like heaven and earth!”
Wong added that she will “resist” until “the end.”
“I need to stand at the front with the students. I want to resist till the end with them,” she said.
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