Hong Kong leader warns more protests will 'make things worse'

12 June 2019, 15:52 | Updated: 13 June 2019, 08:10

There is no peace in Hong Kong, where the youth, angry and afraid have mobilised.

In the city's streets thousands of people, including some with umbrellas and bottles, clashed with police who had shields and batons.

Through clouds of tear gas, they pushed forward.

Their aim was to breach parliament and stop an extradition bill they believe puts their freedoms at risk from China.

At one of the flashpoints, we watched as the tensions began to rise and lines of riot police faced off with crowds of demonstrators.

To start with, they were separated by metal barriers.

Officers put up a yellow flag, warning people to disperse or they would clear the road. Someone in the crowd threw a bottle.

It was the starting gun for a fresh street battle as a wave of young people flowed over the railings into the waiting police.

While the demonstrators had come prepared for trouble, armed with goggles and face masks to protect them from tear gas, some believe it was an unfair fight.

With her face covered so she could not be identified by the authorities, one protester told Sky News: "They fired indiscriminately at our first aid station. We had patients with us, they were bleeding, they had tear gas in their eyes.

"We just want the world to know that we are angry the police used unruly brutality against us."

And the violence is escalating.

Some protesters gathered bricks and sharpened sticks while the police responded with rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. In one case, onlookers filmed as a group of officers hit a lone young man with batons.

In a statement, Hong Kong’s police chief told the media: "We had no choice but to use force to stop the riot."

For some, today’s action has not been in vain. By paralysing roads around the Legislative Council, demonstrators managed to delay a debate on the bill, but Hong Kong’s leader is not backing down.

In a televised address to the nation, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was saddened by the riots and condemned the violence: "We can all have different opinions but there have to be limits on how they are expressed.

"If people think violence is the solution, then things will only get worse. It will harm Hong Kong."

So while official rallies have been prohibited on Thursday, it seems this city will fight on - tearing itself apart with no sign of a resolution.