Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

‘Day of mourning’: Protests erupt around Hong Kong districts as China National Day marred by tear gas, clashes

Clashes broke out between Hong Kong police and protesters on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Wednesday, with officers firing tear gas in Wong Tai Sin, Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin.

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Causeway Bay. Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.

Meanwhile, thousands marched across Hong Kong island to protest the local administration as well as the Chinese Communist Party.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

In direct opposition to the celebrations in Beijing, marchers said that they were marking a “day of mourning.”

xi jinping october 1

Photo: Inmediahk.net.

“There is no National Day celebration, only a national tragedy,” demonstrators shouted – a new slogan coined specifically for October 1.

The Civil Human Rights Front applied to host a peaceful march on Tuesday, but police said that the organisers were unable to guarantee that no clashes would take place.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

An attempt to appeal the ban failed on Monday.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

Nevertheless, four pro-democracy activists – veterans Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung as well as Figo Chan – said they would march from Causeway Bay despite the police ban.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

Separately, violence broke out at rallies held in Wong Tai Sin, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin.

Tuen Mun october 1 national day

Tuen Mun. Photo: Inmediahk.net.

Protesters planned to hold simultaneous rallies across different districts in Hong Kong, starting from 1:30pm.

Tuen Mun october 1 national day

Tuen Mun. Photo: Inmediahk.net.

As of 3pm, police fired tear gas near Lung Cheung Road in Wong Tai Sin, as well as near Yuen Wo Road in Sha Tin.

Sha Tin saw protesters throw petrol bombs and bricks, as police responded with tear gas.

xi jinping october 1 national day

Tsuen Wan. Photo: Jimmy Lam / United Social Press.

In light of Tuesday’s planned protests, the metro system was put on lockdown. As of lunchtime, MTR station closures included Mong Kok, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsuen Wan, Tai Wo Hau, Kwai Hing, Kwai Fong, Sham Shui Po, Prince Edward, Yau Ma Tei, Sai Ying Pun, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Diamond Hill, Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin, Che Kung Temple, Tsuen Wan West, AsiaWorld-Expo and Tuen Mun.

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Tsuen Wan. Photo: Jimmy Lam / United Social Press.

Light rail and Airport Express services are also restricted.

Thousands march

Speaking before the Hong Kong Island march, veteran Labour Party politician Lee Cheuk-yan said that the protest was to mourn “70 years of suppression” at the hands of the Chinese regime.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“We are mourning those who sacrificed for democracy in China,” Lee said.

october 1 national day (1)

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

“In 70 years of Communist Party rule, there are lots of sacrifices, human rights abuses, and the [suppression] of the rights of people in Hong Kong and China.”

october 1 national day (1)

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

“We also condemn the fact that the Hong Kong government, together with the Chinese government, deny the people of Hong Kong the right to democracy.”

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Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Lee also called for the vindication of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre and the end of one-party rule in mainland China. During the march, he also called for a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of Chinese rule.

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Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

However, crowds of black-clad protesters did not always follow the lead of the veteran pan-democrats, with some opting to chant the familiar slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time.”

See also: Transport lockdown as Hong Kong braces for citywide protests on China National Day

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

A protester surnamed Wong said that it was important to take to the streets on October 1 as a show of defiance to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

“Xi wants the world to think everyone in China loves him. A lot of people here feel the opposite,” he told HKFP. He also wore a Guy Fawkes mask – a protest icon made popular in the dystopian film V for Vendetta.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

Rain, an 18-year-old university student, told HKFP that she didn’t want the local protest movement to lose steam, and that she wanted to come out to insist on her freedom of assembly.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“The police are putting a curfew on Hong Kong, making people scared to come out,” she said. “We need to show that we will not give up on our five demands.”

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

During the march, protesters targeted billboards and posters celebrating National Day, often vandalising them with spray paint.

October 1 national day march Cuaseway Bay Wan Chai Admiralty protest

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

Similar to the “anti-totalitarianism” march on Sunday, the Hong Kong island protests also saw vandalism against properties owned by food and catering firm Maxim’s, including local branches of Starbucks Coffee.

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Starbucks. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

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.

Photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

Though the bill has been withdrawn, demonstrators are demanding a fully independent probe into police behaviour, amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 


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'Day of mourning': Protests erupt around Hong Kong districts as China National Day marred by tear gas, clashes