Hong Kong police came under fire after a viral video showed an officer in riot gear tackling a 12-year-old girl during a pro-democracy demonstration. The family of the girl said that she was caught in the protest crowd while out to buy art supplies.
The video, shared widely on social media, several police officials pin the girl down after being tackled to the ground. She was seen trying to duck and flee from the protest group the police were negotiating with.
The girl’s mother told Apple Daily she intended to sue and lodge a formal complaint. She said that her daughter, along with her 20-year-old brother were out to buy art supplies, and added that the girl ran away because she was scared. The girl was bruised and scratched after the incident, her mother added.
In a statement a few hours after the incident, Hong Kong police confirmed the arrest of a 12-year-old girl, saying she had run “in a suspicious manner” and officers had used “minimum necessary force” to apprehend her.
“Police were concerned about youngsters participating in prohibited group gathering. Their presence at the chaotic protest scenes also endangers their own personal safety,” it said.
Don’t miss from Explained | Why pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong are calling for a boycott of Disney’s Mulan
On Sunday, the Hong Kong government said people had ignored advice from police not to participate in unlawful assemblies and protests, risking anti-pandemic efforts and breaching the national security law. “Police discharged their rightful duties today and took prompt and decisive actions to apprehend the offenders.”
Almost 300 people were arrested on Sunday, the vast majority for unlawful assemblies.
About 2,000 police officers were deployed early in the day, ahead of the protests which had been planned by a coalition of pro-democracy groups to mark the day that Hong Kong’s elections were supposed to be held.
At least 25 people have been arrested under the national security law so far, although just one has been charged.