Hong Kong residents come out to clear roadblocks built by rioters


File photo: CGTN

HONG KONG, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- After an over-two-hour journey, Michael Tsang and his friends arrived at Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong Island, at 7:00 a.m. local time on Friday morning.

The young man in his 30s put on work gloves first and then started to remove barricades made of bricks and other trash from the road. Beside him, scores of people, by hands or using handcarts, worked together to move the blockage to the side of the road.

"I'm just a common Hong Kong resident doing what I should do," Tsang told Xinhua.

When a friend of Tsang told him the voluntary activity to clear Shau Kei Wan Road last night, he decided to join without a second of hesitation. "Traffic in Hong Kong was severely disrupted in recent days as roads were blocked and metro tracks and stations were vandalized. And we need to do something about it."

As violent incidents in Hong Kong entered the sixth month, rioters escalated their destructive acts during the week by putting nails, bricks and garbage on roads, throwing hard objects on railway tracks and running trains, hurling petrol bombs into trains, and setting fires in metro stations.

The transport network has been paralyzed for days as some metro stations and lines were shut and passengers had to wait hours for buses.

"We absolutely don't want this," a woman surnamed Cheung passing by said. Because of the rioters' disruption, she could not take bus or subway to the vegetable market, but all on her feet.

"Such violence is unacceptable and voices should be expressed in a peaceful manner," she said, adding that she hoped the chaos should be ended as soon as possible.

More passersby began to join Tsang and his friends. A jogger borrowed a pair of work gloves and picked up bricks from the center of the road. "We must stand out and take our share of responsibility because police alone cannot do all the job and they also need our support."

With more helping hands, the about-100-meter section of road was completely cleared in about 15 minutes, which was rewarded with a resounding cheer from the crowd on the two sides of the roads. Several cars moved onto the road slowly from nearby corners.

Similar road-clearing activities were held in various districts of Hong Kong on Friday morning, including Kowloon and New Territories. "My friends and me will continue to clear blocked roads," Tsang said.

While people like Tsang were struggling to put the metropolis back on track, rioters still committed disruptive activities on Friday morning by hurling petrol bombs into metro stations. The East Rail metro line was halted and fire and ambulance services in some areas were seriously affected.

Hong Kong lawmaker Horace Cheung called on more Hong Kong people to stand out. "Violence will not frighten us. As long as we remain united, rioters will not achieve their goal of destroying Hong Kong."