New Protests Erupt in Hong Kong; Governor Flies to London for Talks

From Associated Press

Angry residents Wednesday honked horns, planted Nationalist Chinese flags and demanded that Chinese leaders resign during spontaneous protests in Hong Kong against the military crackdown in Beijing.

The protests broke out even though organizers canceled planned demonstrations for fear of more violence after rioters stormed Chinese banks earlier in the day. Police said five officers were injured and 15 protesters arrested.

From dawn until nearly midnight, a stream of protesters converged Wednesday on China's official New China News Agency, the mainland government's de facto embassy in this British colony. They shouted abuse at the Chinese leadership and placed flowers for slain demonstrators.

Police said they had no estimate of the number of protesters, who walked six abreast and stretched down several streets.

Most wore black or white clothes, traditional Chinese funeral attire, and many carried banners denouncing Chinese leaders and praising the pro-democracy demonstrators ousted by soldiers from Tian An Men Square in Beijing last weekend. Hundreds of people died in the Beijing crackdown.

Some groups in Hong Kong had called for a general strike Wednesday, and many shops in this bustling British territory were closed. Many displayed anti-Communist posters on their shutters.

David Wilson, the colony's governor, left Wednesday night for London to meet with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of Parliament to discuss the future of Hong Kong, where anxieties about future Chinese rule have increased since the Beijing violence.

Hong Kong is to revert to Chinese rule in 1997, when a 99-year lease expires. Some British lawmakers are now demanding that the accord be reconsidered.

Organized protests were called off Wednesday after police fired tear gas to disperse about 7,000 rioters who hurled rocks and bottles at police in the Kowloon section of the colony.

Police said the clashes developed after people drove through the area honking their car horns to protest the Chinese military moves and then attacked several mainland Chinese banks.

About 98% of Hong Kong's population of 5.7 million are ethnic Chinese, and two-thirds of them are refugees from mainland China or their descendants.

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