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Watch back: Hong Kong protesters take aim at Chinese visitors to explain grievances

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By Euronews with Reuters
Anti-extradition bill protesters march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Hong Kong's tourism district Tsim Sha Tsui, China July 7, 2019.
Anti-extradition bill protesters march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Hong Kong's tourism district Tsim Sha Tsui, China July 7, 2019.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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Hong Kong protesters on Sunday marched through streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping destination dotted with luxury shops, to try to deliver their message directly to mainland Chinese tourists.

At times they shouted slogans in Mandarin, mainland China's official tongue, as opposed to Hong Kong's main language Cantonese.

They also handed out flyers and sent messages by social media and Apple's phone-to-phone AirDrop system written in the simplified form of Chinese characters used on the mainland.

The short march finished at the city's high-speed rail station that connects Hong Kong to the mainland.

"It is hoped that Hong Kong people can spread how Hong Kong people can march peacefully and bring the protest information back to the mainland to mainland visitors," Lau Wing-hong, one of the protest organisers, said.

The march was the first major demonstration since Monday when protesters besieged and ransacked the legislative building in the heart of the city on the 22nd anniversary of the handover.

The authorities took no chances. Police and train staff guarded every exit of the station. Hong Kong's MTR Corp Ltd, which runs the city's metro, planned to shut all entrances to the West Kowloon station apart from a route for passengers.

'Quite touched'

Shanghai businessman Alan Zhang watched the procession near an Apple store on Canton Road.

"Actually, I feel quite touched to see how Hong Kong people fight for their freedom," said Zhang, 54, a frequent visitor to Hong Kong.

"That's something we can't do in China. I think first-time travellers do not know what is happening right now... Indeed it let me see why Hong Kong is different from China. I received flyers and AirDrop - very smart act."

Hundreds of police lined the route, temporarily closing some roads and diverting public transport.

The organizer said 230,000 people had attended the march, while police put the number at 56,000 at its peak.

The extradition bill, which has left Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam clinging to her job, would cover Hong Kong residents and foreign and Chinese nationals living or travelling through the city. Protesters want the bill withdrawn altogether.

Lawyers and rights groups say China's justice system is marked by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention, claims that Beijing denies.

Lam has offered closed-door talks to students from two universities but activists said they want the discussions to be open to the public and called for a halt to investigations of protesters. Police began arresting protesters this week.

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