Amnesty International accused Hong Kong police on Friday of torture and other abuses in their handling of more than three months of pro-democracy protests, but the police say they have shown restraint on the street in the face of increased violence.
Anti-government protesters, many masked and wearing black, have thrown petrol bombs at police and central government offices, stormed the Legislative Council, blocked roads to the airport, trashed metro stations and lit fires on the streets of the Chinese-ruled city.
Police have responded with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds and several live rounds fired in the air, warning the crowds beforehand with a series of different coloured banners.
They have also been seen beating protesters on the ground with batons, with footage of one such attack on cowering passengers on an MTR subway train going viral online and prompting widespread anger.
“The evidence leaves little room for doubt in an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong’s security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests,” Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director at Amnesty International, said in a report following a field investigation.