Thousands join Hong Kong protest against Chinese traders

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After the end of the Reclaim Sheung Shui protest against parallel traders who snap up goods such as foreign-made formula milk, medicines and soy sauce for reselling in China, in the town near the mainland border, hundreds of protesters put on goggles, face masks and hard hats and occupied the streets around the train station, which had been cordoned off for the police-sanctioned demonstration earlier. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said the bill is "dead", but opponents say they will settle for nothing short of its formal withdrawal.

Anticipating the mass participation in the protest, some shops in Sheung Shui had shut down and public bus routes were diverted. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

Police and protesters clashed with each other on Saturday after thousands took to the streets to protest against mainland Chinese traders visiting Sheung Shui, a border town in Hong Kong located close to Shenzhen in mainland China.

Demonstrators hold their umbrellas out across a barricade at plainclothes police with batons in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong, China on July 13, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video.

The bill was proposed on April 3 and its opposers argue that its controversial amendments will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences.

The traders are an ongoing source of contention in Hong Kong, where many say they fuel inflation, drive up property prices and dodge taxes.

The town has previously been a battleground for Hong Kong people angry over the flood of Chinese day-trippers.

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Beijing has thrown its full support behind Lam, calling on Hong Kong police to pursue anyone involved in the parliament storming and other clashes.

On July 7, tens of thousands of people marched through the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, hoping to appeal to tourists from mainland China.

"Some people were attacked and got injured in a stampede", said the man, who would only give the name Ragnar.

Walking behind a banner that read "Strictly enforce the law, stop cross-border traders", Saturday's marchers passed by pharmacies and cosmetic shops that are popular with Chinese tourists and traders who bring goods back to sell in the mainland.

Similar protests have included a march last week by almost 2,000 people in the Tuen Mun residential district to protest against what they saw as the nuisance of brash singing and dancing to Mandarin pop songs.

"Didn't they promise 50 years, no change?" The protest started out peacefully, but devolved into skirmishes with police.

By Greg Torode and Vimvam Tong.

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