Thousands of people took to Hong Kong's streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smoke bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement.
In the largest of three rallies, a key thoroughfare along the waterfront on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour was packed with demonstrators, from hardened masked protesters in all-black outfits to families and the elderly. They chanted "Five demands, not one less" and "Disband the police force" as they marched.
That rally followed two other marches earlier Sunday as protesters sought to keep the pressure on city leader Carrie Lam after the recent win by the pro-democracy camp in district council elections and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.
"If we don't walk out, the government will say it's just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us," Lily Chau, 30, said as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the march in Kowloon. "If we are scared, the government will continue to trample on our rights."
Police estimated that 16,000 people attended the Kowloon rally.
Slogans spray-painted along walls and on sidewalks reminded the crowd that "Freedom is not free" and pledged "Victory at all costs."
The Kowloon march was cut short after riot police fired tear gas and arrested a few people. A police statement said minimum force was deployed after "hundreds of rioters hurled smoke bombs" and bricks.
Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas, shouting "Dirty cops" and "Are you trying to kill us?" Some protesters dug up paving stones and threw them on the street to try to slow the police down.
More tear gas was fired at night after dozens of hardcore protesters set up roadblocks and vandalized some shops and restaurants linked to China.
Hong Kong's protests have been relatively peaceful during the two weeks around the Nov. 24 elections, but Sunday's disruption indicated there may be more violence if Lam fails to yield to protesters' demands.
Tensions started Saturday night after police used pepper balls against protesters and a man was hit in the head by an unidentified assailant while clearing the street.
Lam has said she'll accelerate dialogue but has refused to offer any new concessions since the elections. Her government has accepted only one demand — withdrawing extradition legislation that would have sent suspects to mainland China for trial.
Elaine Wong, an office worker who was at the Kowloon march, called the recent election win "an empty victory."
"We have in actual fact not won any concessions for our demands," she said. "We must continue to stand out to remind the government of our unhappiness."
The two earlier marches Sunday appealed to President Donald Trump for help and demanded that police stop using tear gas.
Waving American flags, black-clad protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate to thank Trump for signing into law last week legislation supporting their cause and urged him to swiftly sanction Lam and other officials for suppressing human rights.
Some held banners reading "Let's make Hong Kong great again" — a riff on Trump's 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again. One showed him standing atop a tank with "Trump" emblazoned on the front and side.
At the other small rally, a peaceful crowd of about 200 adults and young children marched to government headquarters in the morning and chanted "No more tear gas."
"A lot of parents are worried that their children are affected, because their children are coughing, breaking out in rashes and so forth," said social worker and march organizer Leo Kong.
In Geneva, China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, of emboldening "radical violence" in Hong Kong.
In an opinion piece published Saturday in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper, Bachelet called for an "independent and impartial judge-led investigation into reports of excessive use of force by the police."
She also said that Lam's government must prioritize "meaningful, inclusive" dialogue to resolve the crisis.
China's U.N. mission in Geneva said the article interferes in China's internal affairs and exerts pressure on Hong Kong's government and police, which "will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence."
It said Bachelet made "inappropriate comments" on Hong Kong's crisis and that the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response.
India said Saturday that ties with Japan are key to stability in the Indo-Pacific region as the two countries held their inaugural foreign and defense ministerial dialogue in New Delhi with an aim to further bolster their strategic partnership.
The security talks focused on cooperation in building a free and open Indo-Pacific in view of China's growing footprint in the region. They took place following a decision by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, during a summit between the leaders last year.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar headed the Indian delegation, while the Japanese side was led by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Taro Kono.
Singh held talks with Kono on a range of issues. The Press Trust of India news agency reported that the two ministers discussed deepening ties in the development of weapons and military hardware.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held a meeting with Japan's foreign and defense ministers.
Modi said that India's relationship with Japan is "a key component of our vision for Indo-Pacific for peace, stability and prosperity of the region, as well as a cornerstone of India's Act East Policy," according to a statement from India's Ministry of External Affairs.
Japan is only the second country after the U.S. with which India has used the so-called "two-plus-two" dialogue format, which brings the foreign and defense ministers together for talks.
At least six people were killed and 10 others injured, some of them critically, Saturday in a deadly head-on collision between a passenger bus and an oil truck tanker in India's eastern state of West Bengal, police said.
The accident took place at Farakka in Murshidabad district, about 289 km north of Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal.
"Early today at around 5:00 a.m. (local time) a bus carrying passengers collided with an oil tank truck here killing six people and injuring 10 others," a police official posted in Murshidabad said. "The dead include drivers of both the vehicles."
Police said the injured were removed to hospital, where condition of some of them was stated to be critical.
"At the time of the accident, the passengers inside the bus were mostly asleep," the official said.
According to police, the impact of the accident pointed out that both the vehicles were being driven rashly.
Rescue officers had to cut the metal sides of the bus to take out the injured and bodies, police said.
Deadly road accidents are common in India often caused due to overloading, bad condition of roads and reckless driving.
Indian government this month released a report saying 151,471 people were killed in road accidents during 2018 across the country. The maximum deaths during road accidents in 2018 as per the report were caused due to overspeeding.
Officials say on an average of over 400 deaths take place every day in India due to road accidents.
Central China's Hubei Province on Friday opened a new high-speed railway that connects many of the province's scenic spots and poverty-stricken areas.
The railway linking Wuhan, capital of Hubei, with Shiyan, a city in the northwest of the province, has designed maximum speeds of 250 kph and 350 kph in its two sections, according to China Railway Wuhan Group.
The railway passes five cities, home to 46 percent of Hubei's population. It also snakes into the Qinling Mountains and reaches large expanses of impoverished areas there.
Dubbed the "most beautiful railway" in Hubei, the rail line links four national tourist attractions with the highest 5A-level ratings, including Mount Wudang, known for its many Taoist temples.
Zheng Zongli, a Wuhan resident and passenger on the first train on the line, hailed the railway for slashing travel time between the two cities of Wuhan and Shiyan to about two hours.
"It is so convenient that you can set out in the morning and arrive at Mount Wudang in the afternoon. It used to take more than a day," he said.
Shi Lilong, chief of the poverty reduction office of Shiyan, said the railway would become a powerful weapon in the local battle against poverty by bringing the mountains and its sceneries closer to tourists, unlocking the tourism potential of the mountainous region.
An Afghan official says a roadside bomb in the southern Helmand province has killed two security personnel, including a senior border commander.
Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, says Saturday that the blast in the Marjah district wounded two other security officials and a local TV reporter when it struck a passing convoy.
The spokesman said the attack likely targeted Gen. Zahir Gul Muqbil, the army border unit commander who was killed in the explosion.
He added that a reporter with the Shamshad TV network, Sardar Mohammad Sarwary, was among the wounded, and had been accompanying security forces on an operation in Marjah.
Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack. The militant group controls most districts in Helmand.