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Hong Kong activists clean train station after clash with police

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Activists in Hong Kong appeared Monday morning at the scene of clashes between police and protesters, with cleaning supplies to help undo the damage.

People gathered at Sham Shui Po train station located in the Kowloon area to carry out the cleaning.

It followed a protest on Wednesday evening, where a gathering to mark the Hungry Ghost Festival, a Buddhist and Taoist holiday, was ended by police firing tear gas.

PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images

According to Radio Times Hong Kong, a group of volunteers converged onto the station to around 7 a.m. local time on Monday morning. The cleanup gathering was organized online, the outlet said.

Men dressed in surgical masks and gloves wiped down ticketing machines and map displays.

A protester cleans a ticket machines during an event to clean Sham Shui Po MTR underground station in Hong Kong on August 19, 2019, one of the areas where clashes between police and protesters have taken place and tear gas used outside the station.
PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images

One of the volunteers, named Chan, told the outlet that the station had been “contaminated” by tear gas fired by police, and said he hoped transit officials would consider condemning police use of force that harmed members of the public “both psychologically and physically.”

On Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the Sham Shui Po police station and began burning paper — part of the Hungry Ghost tradition — and shining lasers at the building, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

A protester attempts to kick a tear gas canister during a demonstration on Hungry Ghost Festival day in Sham Shui Po district on August 14, 2019 in Hong Kong.
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The laser pointing gesture appears to be in response to a student activist who was arrested for purchasing a laser pointer, which Hong Kong police reportedly deemed an “ offensive weapon.”

The protest was also in response to harsh treatment of protesters by police, particularly after a woman appeared to have been hit in the eye with a beanbag round fired by police during protests in nearby Tsim Sha Tsui.

According to Hong Kong Free Press, passengers in the Sham Shui Po station were affected by tear gas fired by police above ground that evening.

The Press said it was the third time in nine days that police had fired tear gas in the area.

A medic gives an eye wash to a protester after police fired tear gas during a demonstration on Hungry Ghost Festival day outside a police station in Sham Shui Po district on August 14, 2019 in Hong Kong.
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The action follows a massive peaceful march on Sunday that hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters fill the streets as protests enter into their 11th week.

Read more: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warns against pushing the city into the ‘abyss’ as protesters force airport to cancel hundreds more flights

Organizers of the Sunday march through the busy Causeway Bay say 1.7 million people turned up. Police say the number was far smaller, close to 130,000.

The peaceful march offers a welcome reprieve to weeks of violent clashes between protesters and police, including a days-long takeover of the city’s main airport.

Those who attended the march on Sunday told Reuters that they wanted to demonstrate their willingness to continue to fight their goals through peaceful means.

“They’ve been telling everyone we’re rioters,” a 23-year-old protester told Reuters. “The march today is to show everyone we are not.”

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