Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

In Pictures: Water cannon, tear gas and Molotovs as police and protesters clash in high-speed Hong Kong Island chase

Hong Kong Island erupted in chaos on Sunday as protesters went ahead with an unauthorised “global anti-totalitarianism march.”

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Photo: May James/HKFP

Demonstrators and police fought high-speed street battles – westwards and then eastwards between Admiralty and Causeway Bay – as officers deployed water cannon, pepper spray and projectiles.

Police made dozens of arrests during the crackdown as protesters used Molotov cocktails, threw bricks and set fire to makeshift barricades.

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Photo: May James/HKFP

Four MTR stations – Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau – were closed as the unrest continued into the night.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

At around 2:30pm, protesters began marching from Causeway Bay despite being briefly dispersed by police.

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Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

The anti-totalitarianism march was held in coordination with similar events in over 40 countries, but local organisers did not apply for police permission.

MTR exits were vandalised as demonstrators left a trail of anti-government graffiti and protest posters on key buildings along the route.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Protesters reached the government headquarters in Admiralty and occupied the key thoroughfare of Harcourt Road.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Shortly after 4:30pm, officers fired tear gas as a water cannon truck deployed blue dye and tear spray towards protesters.

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Photo: May James/HKFP

Dozens were arrested after riot police and the Special Tactical Squad officers – also known as the “Raptors” – charged into Harcourt Road.

september 29 china extradition protest admiralty

Photo: May James/HKFP

The remaining protesters retreated in the direction of Wan Chai as others ran towards Central.

“The radical protestors gathering in Admiralty and Wan Chai continue to charge at police cordon lines. Some have even hurled numerous petrol bombs at Police officers, posing a serious threat to the safety of everyone at the scene,” the police said in a statement.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

As riot police pushed in from the west, firing tear gas, they ran into the crowd near Pacific Place mall in Admiralty and made over two dozen arrests.

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Photo: May James/HKFP

Several people were injured in the process, with one protester appearing to have lost consciousness.

There were also several cases of police appearing to target journalists, with multiple complaints emerging on Twitter of reporters being directly pepper-sprayed or shoved.

september 29 china extradition protest admiralty

Photo: May James/HKFP

As the night wore on, protesters set fires to barricades in Wan Chai to hinder the police advance, but most were doused by a water cannon truck.

Meanwhile, a video circulating online showed men suspected to be undercover officers wielding retractable batons in the vicinity of Southorn Playground in Wan Chai. Ming Pao reported that one fired a warning shot into the air

HKFP has reached out to the police for comment.

MTR targetted 

Earlier in the day, a skirmish broke out between protesters and police outside the closed Wan Chai MTR station. Some black-clad protesters were seen smashing the windows of a station exit, and throwing Molotov cocktails at the police officers stationed inside.

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Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Police later charged onto the ground level and onto a footbridge, firing tear gas and other projectiles at protesters.

Explainer: ‘The Communist Party’s Railway’ – How Hong Kong’s once-respected MTR fell afoul of protesters

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The metro system has been a target for protesters after it began shutting stations and condemning demnostrators following pressure from China’s state media.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some protesters also targetted Chinese banks and franchises run by Maxim’s caterers, after the founder’s daughter blasted the movement at a UN hearing.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Lawmaker pepper-sprayed

As the protests gathered pace on Sunday afternoon, police pepper-sprayed pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu in the face as he was trying to negotiate with officers about a detained passerby.

“I’m sorry, I got pepper-sprayed, I’m resting at a safe place. The police are crazy, everyone be careful,” Chu wrote on his Facebook page afterwards.

One officer was spotted trying to help Chu wash off the pepper spray, but he was stopped by another officer.

Protesters turned out for Sunday’s march despite the lack of police approval, saying that they wanted to support international solidarity. A group of protesters displayed a banner reading: “Warning! Democracy and human rights under attack!”

The group also waved national flags of countries all around the world, signalling that the issue was a global one.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“It is important for the world to realise the dangers of the [Chinese Communist Party] and especially Xi Jinping,” one protester surnamed Yeung told HKFP. “Hong Kong needs the world’s support, and we will also voice our support to anyone in the world fighting against totalitarianism.”

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Other protesters maintained their five core demands, which include full amnesty for protesters, an independent commission of inquiry, as well as universal suffrage.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“The Hong Kong police force needs to be restructured,” added another protester Jamie. “They arrest normal citizens but side with gangsters.”

Multiple shopping malls in Causeway Bay announced that they would close ahead of the march, including SOGO, Hysan Place and the World Trade Centre.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong have entered their 17th week, as the city marks five years since the birth of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement this weekend.

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A banner celebrating China’s National Day is removed and burned. Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Since June, large-scale peaceful protests against a bill that would have enabled extraditions to China have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy and alleged police brutality.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Throughout the weekend, solidarity rallies are planned in Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, UK and the US.

Additional reporting: Tom Grundy. 


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In Pictures: Water cannon, tear gas and Molotovs as police and protesters clash in high-speed Hong Kong Island chase