Around 40 “Gau Wu” protesters marched from Mong Kok to Admiralty on Saturday night to commemorate the anniversary of pro-democracy Occupy protests.
Jordan Chan, one of the organisers, told HKFP that “more people usually come out to protest on Saturdays, and we did not want to clash with commemoration events by other organisations on September 27 or 28.”
The rally started at around 7pm. Protesters chanted: “Remember our goal [of true democracy], walk hand in hand, we will be back in Admiralty together!” along the route.
The protesters moved on to Tsim Sha Tsui and boarded the Star Ferry to Central.
Demonstrators said they intended to use the slogan “retake the Civic Square”, which was stormed on the same day last year – an event that kickstarted the 79-day Occupy protests. The group, however, had previously told police that they did not intend to storm the square in an application letter for the event’s approval.
Outside the legislature, protesters urged the government to reopen the square, calling it “Admiralty Prison” as it was fenced-off and guarded.
“It belongs to the Hong Kong people, it was built with our tax money, we have the right to get inside to protest,” a protester surnamed Chin said, “This government only knows how to destroy things but not use them in the right way.”
Coloured balls were then thrown at effigies of China Liaison Director Zhang Xiaoming, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen in protest.
The officials were depicted as prisoners, in reference to the protesters calling Civic Square a prison.
Booths set up near the square demanded genuine universal suffrage for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and the legislature.
Art installations also appeared on the road nearby to commemorate the anniversary. The march ended at around 10 pm.
On nearby Harcourt Road, a new example of “Space Invader” style art was found near the Central Government Complex. A yellow space invader reappeared holding a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the Occupy protests.
The French artist Invader installed an art piece last year in Admiralty that featured the same image.
A sticker next to the art piece was apparently from a “Space Invader” exhibition held in Hong Kong in May.
The “Gau Wu” protesters started to gather in Mong Kok nightly after the pro-democracy Occupy protest camps were cleared in Mong Kok in November last year.
The movement was nicknames “Gau Wu” — Mandarin for shopping — as protesters claimed they were in Mong Kok to shop. It followed a call from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, urging people to help small businesses in Mong Kok affected by Occupy, after the protests were cleared.