Hong Kong officials "glue" down paving stones as Chinese visit stirs protest

After riot police were pelted with cobble stones during February's demonstrations, cracks in pavements are now being filled with cement

Hong Kong, China, Protests, Demonstrations, Zhang Dejiang

Riot police stand guard as protesters set fires and throw bricks in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong in February [AP Photo/Vincent Yu]

Ahead of a visit by a senior Chinese official in Hong Kong, authorities in the city have made the decision to start “gluing” down the paving stones in order to prevent protesters from pulling them up and launching them as projectiles.

During a fraught period between the former British colony and mainland China, a visit by Zhang Dejiang, a high-ranking member of the Communist Party, is intensifying concerns over Beijing’s control of the city.

In February, a riot broke out when the government changed a number of policies concerning street vendors, which led to protesters throwing bottles and bricks torn from the footpaths at police officers. The local police reacted with warning shots and by using pepper spray against them.

According to the Hong Kong Highway’s Department, charged with maintenance of the city’s walkways, paving stones in areas where protests have previously broken out will now be cemented down to prevent protesters from pulling them up.

Unrest and civil disobedience have been a common sight on Hong Kong’s streets since 2014, when thousands of protesters occupied key parts of the city for 11 weeks in what later became known as the ‘Umbrella Movement’. The protests came about as a response to an unpopular political reform package backed by Beijing officials, which would have given voters in Hong Kong the chance to only select their elected officials from pre-selected candidates.

Since then, tensions between the autonomous city-state and Beijing have become more entrenched, with many people from the city becoming more politically motivated to protect the many freedoms that other Chinese citizens across the border do not enjoy.

The police force in Hong Kong has now revealed that it has set aside a number of designated areas where the protesters can stage peaceful demonstrations during Zhang Dejiang’s controversial visit.

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