Over 100 arrested after clash in Hong Kong

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 07, 2011 04:30 hrs

Hong Kong, March 7 (DPA) More than 100 people were arrested in Hong Kong when police and activists clashed after a march by thousands of people protesting the gulf between the city's rich and poor, police said Monday.

Clashes broke out late Sunday when police used pepper spray to break up a sit-in outside the city's government headquarters after the march.

A police spokesman said 113 people were arrested. Seven protesters and two police officers were injured, including at least one person affected by pepper spray.

The arrested activists were taken away in police buses from the protest site on suspicion on unlawful assembly. Most were released on bail early Monday.

The clashes followed a peaceful march Sunday afternoon to protest the growing rich-poor divide and the perceived failure of the Beijing-appointed administration to tackle it.

Organisers said 10,000 people attended the demonstration although police put the figure at 6,300.

The march went ahead despite the announcement last week of a 6,000-Hong Kong-dollar ($770) cash handout for every resident after criticism of the recently announced annual budget.

Pro-democracy legislator Emily Lau said Monday that the clashes showed people were 'deeply dissatisfied' with the Hong Kong government's performance.

'The administration must listen carefully to the people and find out why they behave in such a way,' she said. 'There have been scuffles with the police after protests in the past, but this time, it seems to be more serious.'

The Hong Kong protest came amid appeals by the Beijing government for social stability and criticism from officials of attempts to stage demonstrations in major Chinese cities over the past three Sundays.

'The government will listen to and carefully consider the views expressed by the public with an open mind,' a Hong Kong government spokesman said.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 but has a mini-constitution guaranteeing rights of protest denied to people in the rest of China.