- US president says he hopes ‘nobody gets killed’
- Urges calm in tweet claiming troops poised in neighbouring Shenzhen
The situation in Hong Kong was "tricky" according to US President Donald Trump, but he hoped the crisis would be worked out without anyone getting hurt or killed.
Trump's remarks, to reporters at Morristown, New Jersey, preceded two tweets in which he mentioned the city " now in its 10th week of anti-government protests " and called for calm as clashes continued between protesters and police.
Citing US intelligence, Trump tweeted that China's government was moving troops to the neighbouring mainland city of Shenzhen, adding "Everyone should be calm and safe!"
Trump also tweeted: "Many are blaming me, and the United States, for the problems going on in Hong Kong. I can't imagine why?"
Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!
" Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019
Footage of trucks rolling into Shenzhen, in the southern province of Guangdong, began circulating online on Saturday. Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily and its affiliated newspaper Global Times posted videos of the convoy in the city the next day, saying police were there to prepare for large-scale drills.
Dozens of the trucks, as well as excavators, lined a pavement next to the entrance of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre in Nanshan district on Monday, across the harbour from Hong Kong, according to the video.
Personnel in camouflage uniforms stood at the entrances of the sports centre, but did not block access to civilians. Asked whether they were in Shenzhen for a drill and what time they had arrived, the officers shook their heads and said nothing.
This was not the first police mobilisation in Shenzhen, where more than 12,000 police officers assembled on August 6 for an exercise which included anti-riot measures similar to those seen on the streets of Hong Kong in recent months.
Shenzhen police said the drill was part of security preparations for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on October 1.
In live videos of the police drills shown on the live streaming platform Yizhibo, officers in body armour, helmets and shields confronted groups of people in black shirts and red or yellow construction safety helmets " similar to those worn by Hong Kong protesters " and holding flags, banners, batons and wooden boards.
The police movements in Shenzhen followed a rare drill in Foshan, Guangdong Province in late July, in which about 190,000 police officers took part, also in the name of national day preparations. It is unusual for drills to be held so far from Beijing as police forces in or near the capital are typically used for anniversary events.
The People's Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong also recently released a video showing troops conducting anti-riot exercises against protesters, as its top commander in the city warned violence was "absolutely impermissible".
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