HK becoming ‘police state’ as thousands rally: US senator Oct 15, 2019 0 577 12345 AFPHong KongHong Kong is sliding towards becoming a police state, US senator Josh Hawley warned Monday, as tens of thousands filled the strife-torn city’s streets waving American flags and calling on Washington to punish China over sliding freedoms.The international finance hub was battered by another weekend of unrest as hardcore pro-democracy protesters and police fought running battles with officers warning the violence had now reached “life-threatening levels”.Protests pushing for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability have raged for the last 19 weeks and there is little end in sight as Beijing and local leaders refuse concessions.On Monday night a huge crowd filled Hong Kong’s commercial district to show support for a US bill that could dramatically alter Washington’s relationship with the trading hub.The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which could be discussed and voted on by the House of Representatives as early as this week, would require annual reviews of the territory’s special trading status -- and potentially sanction some Chinese officials.Monday’s rally was the largest in weeks partly because it was granted permission to go ahead by police.“We are here to make an urgent call out to the international community to support us, we have no other way,” a 24-year-old art student, who gave her surname as Chun, said.Among the bill’s sponsors is Hawley, a Republican senator for Missouri who was in Hong Kong on a two-day trip during which he watched protests on Sunday.“The situation here is urgent,” he told reporters shortly before flying back to Washington before Monday night’s rally.Asked what his message would be on returning to Congress he replied: “That Hong Kong is in danger of sliding towards a police state and that representative government in Hong Kong is at risk, and that the one country two systems model is at risk.” One country, two systems is the deal China agreed to ahead of the 1997 handover by Britain allowing Hong Kong to keep its unique freedoms such as free speech and an independent judiciary for 50 years. RELATED ARTICLES Kurds ‘may be releasing’ IS prisoners in Syria to get US involved: Trump Oct 15, 2019 0 208 Erdogan says US Syria withdrawal ‘positive’ Oct 15, 2019 0 155 Iran arrests opposition figure ‘directed by French intel’ Oct 15, 2019 0 179 Syrian army nears Turkish border as Kurds reach deal with Damascus Istanbul: Syrian government forces were deployed on Monday to Kurdish strongholds in north-eastern Syria following an agreement between the Kurds and Damascus to confront a Turkish incursion, a war monitor and state .. Russia denies US news report it bombed 4 Syria hospitals in 12 hours AFP Moscow Russia on Monday denied a US newspaper report that its warplanes bombed four hospitals in rebel-held territory in Syria over a period of 12 hours this year. The Russian defence ministry rubbished the claim in a .. UK experts in Iran to upgrade Arak reactor, says embassy AFP Tehran A team of British experts arrived in Iran on Monday to begin work to upgrade the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the UK embassy in Tehran said. Iran removed the core of the Arak facility and filled part of it with .. Iran releases pictures of tanker attacked in Red Sea Tehran: Iran on Monday released pictures showing two gaping holes in the hull of an oil tanker it alleges was attacked off Saudi Arabia last week. Tehran says the Iranian-flagged Sabiti tanker was hit by two separate .. Israeli police arrest Palestinian officials in Jerusalem AFP Jérusalem Israeli police arrested the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem and a local official of the mainstream Fatah party in dawn raids Monday in the disputed city, their lawyer said. Police arrested governor .. Amnesty decries ‘climate of fear’ for Nigeria journalists after 19 detained Lagos: Amnesty International on Monday said journalists in Nigeria are operating under a “climate of fear”, after 19 reporters were detained by security forces this year. The rights group said there has been a .. Japan searches for survivors as Typhoon Hagibis death toll hits 56 Tokyo: Tens of thousands of rescuers worked into the night Monday to find survivors of a powerful typhoon in Japan that killed at least 56 people, as fresh rain threatened to hamper their efforts. Typhoon Hagibis crashed .. Attempts to split China risk ‘smashed’ bodies, says Xi Beijing: President Xi Jinping has warned that any attempts to split China would result in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder”, amid four months of anti-Beijing unrest in Hong Kong. Xi issued the dire message ..