More Mass HK Protests Planned After Peaceful Weekend Rallies
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.
Tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong during a peaceful rally on August 18, 2019.