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Hong Kong announces new commission to address ongoing protests

Pro-democracy protesters wave a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, the Revolution of Our Times” as they march against the Central district scenic during a rally at the Water Front in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:03 PM PT — Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Hong Kong government is planning to set up an independent commission to address the country’s ongoing protests. On Saturday, Hong Kong’s chief secretary said officials will not investigate police brutality, but they will develop a commission to restore the region’s peace and order.

This came as a rejection to protesters, who have been calling for an official investigation into police brutality in the region. The chief secretary shot down these demands and said they will instead launch a commission to look at the broad social issues behind the ongoing demonstrations.

“This commission focuses on the bigger picture, the reason behind the social unrest,” stated Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung. “It’s not directed solely at police or a particular group, it is to find the root cause of the conflict.”

Reports said nearly 6,000 people in Hong Kong have been arrested since the beginning of the protests, which started in March. Over 900 of those arrested are under the age of 18.

A pro-democracy protester shouts after being detained by policemen during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

This came days after President Trump signed several new bills into law, which will support protesters’ months-long demonstrations. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will empower the Trump administration to impose sanctions on officials from China or Hong Kong for violating human rights. A separate piece of legislation will ban the export of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control items.

Hong Kong protesters have thanked the president and the U.S. for their support. Demonstrators carried American flags and marched to the U.S. consulate on Sunday to thank America for approving the legislation.

“Thank you Trump, thank you all in USA, to pass the act and support Hong Kong,” said one demonstrator. “Just stay with Hong Kong, free Hong Kong and please boycott China.”

Protesters said they hope other countries will add their voices in support.

“For the U.S. President to sign on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, that’s the remarkable achievement of all Hong Kongers,” stated activist Joshua Wong. “It just encourages world leaders around the world and politicians (to be) aware that it’s time for them to stand with Hong Kong.”

Protesters wave American flags during a rally outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

However, some protests turned violent, marking a break in the relatively peaceful demonstrations leading up to the election. Police fired tear gas after 16,000 people showed up for a rally in the southern part of the city. Protesters barricaded roads and vandalized shops linked to China.

Related: President Trump Signs Bills Protecting Hong Kong Protesters

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