Scuffles have broken out across “Lennon Walls” in Hong Kong, as those supporting a controversial extradition bill clashed with those against it.
One man was arrested after he was filmed punching another in front of a Lennon Wall on Wednesday night.
At another Lennon Wall, three were arrested after fights between anti-bill and pro-bill supporters.
Lennon Walls – walls plastered with colourful protests notes – have in recent weeks spread across Hong Kong.
The emergence of the walls follows weeks of protests in Hong Kong over a bill that would allow suspects in the city to be extradited to mainland China.
The bill has now been suspended and declared “dead” but demonstrators say they will not stop until it has been completely withdrawn.
As protests continue, many have taken to sticking messages supporting the protests, and expressing anger against the government, on walls to express themselves.
Colourful notes taking over the city
On Wednesday night, a 46-year-old man was filmed repeatedly punching a younger man at a Lennon Wall in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay.
According to local media reports, the man had been tearing down sticky notes on the wall – it is not clear if the younger man had tried to stop him. The 46-year-old was later arrested.
Video of the attack went viral on social media in Hong Kong, with many applauding the younger man who did not retaliate or defend himself.
Conflict also broke out at another Lennon Wall near Hong Kong’s Yau Tong metro station on the same night.
According to the South China Morning Post, anti-bill campaigners were tidying up sticky notes at the wall when dozens of pro-bill supporters turned up.
They attempted to remove the messages and to stop the campaigners from sticking any more messages.
More people from both sides soon arrived to join the dispute, and scuffles quickly broke out.
Police later appeared and three men, who were said to have pushed an 18-year-old to the ground, were later arrested.
Another separate incident earlier this week saw dozens of police officers removing notes from the Lennon Wall, after some messages were found to contain the personal details of a police officer.
Lennon Walls – which gets its name from a wall in Prague that has been filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti – have sprung up across numerous districts across Hong Kong.
They first made an appearance in Hong Kong in 2014 during the Occupy Protests when thousands took over the streets to protest against Beijing’s decision to rule out fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.
As a former British colony, Hong Kong is part of China but run under a “one country, two systems” arrangement that guarantees it a high level of autonomy, except in foreign affairs and defence.
It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China – but critics fear the bill would erode this independence.