More Mass HK Protests Planned Af­ter Peace­ful Week­end Ral­lies

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Hong Kong is gearing up for more protests this week af­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands of demon­stra­tors braved heavy rain to rally peace­fully on Sun­day, mark­ing a change to what have of­ten been vi­o­lent clashes. Sun­day’s turnout of an es­ti­mated 1.7 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the rally’s or­gan­iser, showed that the move­ment still has broad-based sup­port de­spite chaotic scenes last week when protesters oc­cu­pied the Chi­nese-ruled city’s air­port, for which some ac­tivists apol­o­gised.

The protests be­gan more than

11 weeks ago as opposition to a now-sus­pended Bill that would al­low suspects to be ex­tra­dited to main­land China for trial and have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

Ready­ing the new ral­lies

Fur­ther demon­stra­tions are planned in com­ing weeks, in­clud­ing an­other strike in dis­tricts across the for­mer Bri­tish colony.

Police said yesterday that while the demon­stra­tion was mostly peace­ful, acts of “breach­ing public peace” hap­pened af­ter­wards with some protesters shooting hard ob­jects at gov­ern­ment of­fices and aim­ing laser beams at Police of­fi­cers.

Protesters had spilled out from Vic­to­ria Park, the des­ig­nated rally area on Sun­day, and streamed onto ma­jor thor­ough­fares towards the city’s fi­nan­cial cen­tre, chant­ing for the city’s Bei­jing-backed leader Carrie Lam to step down. Demon­stra­tors later in the night urged each other to go home, break­ing from pre­vi­ous in­stances of vi­o­lent clashes with police, which have marred re­cent demon­stra­tions. In a state­ment on Sun­day night the gov­ern­ment said it was most im­por­tant to re­store so­cial or­der as soon as pos­si­ble and it would be­gin sin­cere di­a­logue with the public and “re­build so­cial harmony when ev­ery­thing has calmed down”.

Police have come un­der crit­i­cism for using in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive tac­tics to break up demon­stra­tions but on Sun­day there was a min­i­mal Police pres­ence.

Photo: South China Morn­ing Post

Tens of thou­sands of protesters in Hong Kong dur­ing a peace­ful rally on Au­gust 18, 2019.

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