Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Tear gas, water cannon vs. bricks and Molotovs after thousands defy protest ban on Hong Kong Island

Police have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon containing dye and tear spray at pro-democracy protesters, as Hong Kong entered its fifteenth week of demonstrations.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The march, originally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, was cancelled after the police objected to the event.

But on Sunday, thousands still took to the streets in defiance of the ban.

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Photo: Kevin Cheng/USP United Social Press.

The march began at around 2:30pm at East Point Road in the commercial area of Causeway Bay, the original starting point of the protest.

causeway bay

East Point Road. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The MTR Corporation enacted crowd control measures to deal with the influx of people, including halting some escalators.

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A man held a placard that said “Fish needs water to survive. How can humans live without freedom?” Photo: May James/HKFP.

Before the march started, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting told HKFP that he believed people would be undeterred by the police presence at MTR stations.

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A woman with a baby held a placard that said “Five demands, not one less.” Photo: May James/HKFP.

“Of course, the police force try to make use of the MTR system to deploy increased manpower to suppress our movement. But I do not think Hong Kong people will back down and if [police] try to use any excessive power to stop them, they will just spread to other parts of Hong Kong,” he said.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

During the march, several police officers were stationed on an overpass near Arsenal Street leading to the police headquarters in Wan Chai.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

As crowds walk past, some jeered at the officers while hurling insults such as “gangsters” and “black cops.”

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Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

As the procession moved from Causeway Bay to government headquarters in Admiralty, some vehicles – including a doubledecker on Jackson Road and on Connaught Road – became stuck briefly in the crowds.

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Two buses have been left on Connaught Place as crowds continue to walk on Connaught Road Central. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Ms Chow, a 24-year-old registered nurse, told HKFP that she had attended most weekend rallies and wanted to do so again on Sunday to mark the International Day of Democracy.

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Ms Chow, a registered nurse. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“Even though the police rejected our march today we will still come out because it is our right to do it,” she said.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“I think the majority of Hong Kong people are not afraid of coming out.”

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Photo: Apple Daily.

A large white banner was unfurled opposite the Central Government Offices reading “I want democracy.”

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A banner saying “I want democracy” was being unfurled outside the government headquarters in Admiralty. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

A 40-year-old teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, told HKFP she considered the police prohibition of Sunday’s original march to be unacceptable.

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Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“We’re not satisfied with the withdrawal [of the extradition bill]. It’s too late,” she said.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“After three months, she just said those two words – she has been playing these word games. It’s dirty, the whole government is dirty.”

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Protesters moved barricades to make road blocks. Photo: May James/HKFP.

Rally-goers held placards saying “Five demands, not one less,” in reference to the five requests made by protesters to the government: withdraw the extradition bill, retract the categorisation of protests as riots, drop all charges against those involved in the movement, investigate police misconduct, and transition to full democracy.

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A placard said “Five demands, not one less.” Photo: May James/HKFP.

Only the first demand has been met after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced last Wednesday – nearly three months into the protests – that the bill would be withdrawn.

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A banner reading “Five demands, not one less. Civil disobedience; nothing to fear.” Photo: May James/HKFP.

A woman distributed alcohol wet wipes to black-clad protesters and members of the press. She told HKFP the wipes can be used to remove blue stains from the water deployed by water cannon trucks.

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Protesters used traffic cones to make roadblocks. Photo: May James/HKFP.

By 4:30pm, the key flashpoint of Harcourt Road outside Hong Kong government headquarters was occupied by protesters, as traffic came to a halt.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police fired tear gas in Admiralty shortly after 5pm as protesters hurled dozen of Molotov cocktails and bricks at the government headquarters and police frontlines.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

In Admiralty, HKFP observed a tear gas cannister fired at journalists.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police also fired rubber bullets at protesters.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Around the same time, protesters readied themselves for clashes by digging bricks from pavements and setting up barricades at the closed Admiralty MTR Station.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Meanwhile, MTR exits along the protest route were vandalised.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

At around 5pm, the MTR said the Admiralty Station was closed. Some exits were closed at Sheung Wan, Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

At around 5:30pm, riot police were photographed riding an MTR train at Wan Chai station.

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Riot police were seen riding the MTR past Wan Chai station. Photo: Online.

At 5:35pm, water cannon trucks fired jets of water outside the government headquarters in Admiralty. Some protesters threw Molotov cocktails at them in response.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Those hit by water cannon, including journalists, appeared in pain as their skin reacted to the chemical shot from the trucks.

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A water cannon truck aimed at protesters. Photo: May James/HKFP.

The MTR Corporation has become a target of the protesters, after the railway company was accused of failing to ensure the safety of passengers in numerous incidents throughout the months-long protests.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

During the Sunday march, protesters vandalised the property of the MTRC in Admiralty.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

At 5:33pm, Police said in an announcement: “Radical protesters gathering near Admiralty and Central area have committed destructive acts extensively.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some of them dug up bricks from pavements and threw hard objects, including bricks, into Central Government Offices, posing serious threat to public safety in the vicinity.”

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An MTR exit has been vandalised with a grafiti saying “Bad cops and all of their families should die.” Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The force warned the protesters to “stop their illegal acts and leave the scene immediately.”

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

At around 6:30pm, a large fire was set at an exit to Wan Chai MTR station on Hennessey Road. Firefighters arrived at the scene to extinguish the blaze.

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Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

As of 7:30pm, the MTR said Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations were closed, while South Island Line trains would start and stop service at Ocean Park Station.

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Admiralty Centre after being vandalised on Sunday. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Hong Kong’s summer of protest was initially sparked by the now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed local authorities to transfer fugitives to their mainland counterparts.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The demonstrations have since morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent against Beijing’s encroachment, alleged police violence, and other community grievances.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The Hong Kong government has repeatedly condemned acts of violence and vandalism by “radical protesters.” China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly warned other countries to “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.”


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Tear gas, water cannon vs. bricks and Molotovs after thousands defy protest ban on Hong Kong Island