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Hong Kong protests: Activists disrupt rush hour trains

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image copyrightReuters
image captionCrowds swelled on platforms across the city as trains services were delayed and cancelled

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong blocked access to commuter trains on Tuesday, causing widespread disruption during the morning rush hour.

Activists prevented trains from leaving across the city. Some blocked doors while others sounded emergency alarms.

Crowds of passengers were left stuck on subway platforms and services were badly delayed for much of the morning.

Anti-government protests have rocked the city in recent weeks and are causing ongoing disruption.

The demonstrations began over a controversial bill that would have enabled extraditions to mainland China, but they have since morphed into a broader movement focused on democratic reform.

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"I think my work and meeting could wait," one commuter told the BBC. "But our freedom, safety [and] human rights are being taken away and that can't wait - so I'm OK with it."

"I think it's OK because the government should respond to the demands of the citizens," another said.

image copyrightReuters
image captionProtesters wore black and blocked the doors of trains across the city
image copyrightEPA
image captionThere were some scuffles between protesters and frustrated commuters
image copyrightEPA
image captionA frustrated commuter confronts a protester

There were some scuffles between protesters and commuters, who were advised by travel companies to seek alternative forms of transport.

Some travellers grew frustrated. "It's so inconvenient and annoying," one 64-year-old man told Reuters news agency, "I am in a hurry to work, to make a living."

But one masked protester said: "It's not our intention to inconvenience people, but we have to make the authorities understand why we protest.

"We don't have a leader, as you can see this is a mass movement now," she told Reuters.

image copyrightEPA
image captionSubway platforms were left severely overcrowded
image copyrightEPA
image captionOne passenger fainted during the travel chaos

Rail company MTR Corp said trains had resumed by 11:30 local time (03:30 GMT).

"We understand some people want to express their view but we regret that their actions affected train services and other passengers," a spokesman for the company said.

It followed a similar protest last Wednesday, when dozens of demonstrators brought trains to a halt during rush hour.

media captionA police officer is caught brandishing a gun at protesters

Hong Kong has seen eight consecutive weekends of anti-government and pro-democracy demonstrations. Some have been marred by violent clashes between protesters and the police.

While the government has paused work on the controversial extradition bill, protesters now want it withdrawn completely, as well as an independent inquiry into police violence, and democratic reform.

image copyrightEPA
image captionLarge crowds surrounded many stations in Hong Kong
image copyrightEPA
image captionStranded passengers queue for a shuttle bus

They want the territory's leader, Carrie Lam, who is not directly elected by voters and whose handling of the crisis has been widely criticised, to resign.

"She doesn't co-operate with the people of Hong Kong or respond to their demands," commuter Jason Lo, 31, told Reuters.

media captionThe BBC's Nick Beake described the "chaos" on the streets as police fired tear gas

Some protesters have also expressed their anger at the mainland Chinese government, which they say has been eroding freedoms in Hong Kong.

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