Hong Kong riot police deployed tear gas to prevent protesters from continuing an unauthorised march in Sai Wan on Sunday evening, but protesters spontaneously relocated to main thoroughfares in Causeway Bay, blocking roads and disrupting the cross-harbour tunnel.
The protests on Hong Kong Island began at 4pm as a rally at Kennedy Town’s Belcher’s Bay Park. The gathering, attended by tens of thousands, was the second anti-extradition bill event of the day following the march in Tseung Kwan O, and was authorised by police.
Despite a ban on marching in the area, the rally turned into a protest as some began moving through the Kennedy Town Praya and Des Voeux Road West.
Some protesters sabotaged traffic lights in an effort to hinder the Monday morning commute, amid calls for a city-wide protest strike.
Water barriers and other defences were set up to protect the China Liaison Office – Beijing’s office in Hong Kong. Riot police quickly formed a cordon at Water Street, several blocks away from the office, soon after protesters began marching.
Tear gas was fired near Des Voeux Road West and Queen’s Road West shortly after 7:15pm, to stop protesters from advancing.
As the rally continued in Belcher’s Bay Park, some protesters who had marched into Sai Wan began calling for a move to Causeway Bay.
At Causeway Bay MTR station, one protester – when asked where he was going – told HKFP he was following the lead of those on the “frontlines”.
At around 8pm, protesters began blocking Hennessy Road with makeshift barricades made with rubbish bins, construction fences, zip ties and cling film.
They were reportedly joined by protesters who arriving from Tseung Kwan O, where a stand-off outside the police station had died down.
As demonstrators marched through the roads, they redirected traffic and called upon people to join Monday’s strike action.
The cross-harbour tunnel in Wanchai was briefly blocked as a group built barricades and brought traffic to a halt.
The government condemned the move as “seriously paralysing the traffic and affecting emergency services.”
Two activists on the scene told reporters that they intended only a temporary disruption to the tunnel in order to raise awareness of their cause and generate discussion.
Fast-moving, wildcat protest marches were also on Saturday, as a group of around 200 marched from Mong Kok – where riot police began a clearance operation – to Wong Tai Sin. Clashes erupted in the East Kowloon residential district later that night.
Riot police began dispersing protesters on Hong Kong Island shortly after 9pm. They fired large amounts of tear gas on Causeway Bay’s Hennessy Road and Percival Street, and advanced towards protesters on Gloucester Road, near to the Cross-Harbou Tunnel.
Protesters then retreated into the MTR, crossing the harbour where they continued spontaneous protests in Kowloon.
In another lengthier statement on Sunday evening, the government condemned protesters and warned civil servants to remain united ahead of the threatened strike action on Monday.
“The Government must make it clear that blatant violation of law, wanton destruction of public peace and violent attacks on the Police will harm Hong Kong’s society, economy and our people’s livelihood.”
“Such acts have already gone far beyond the limits of peaceful and rational protests for which the Government and general public will not condone under any circumstances. Otherwise they will push Hong Kong into a very dangerous situation.”