Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

In Pictures: Unrest and tear gas around Hong Kong Island, as police halt authorised rallies in Central

Police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse crowds in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park – a traditional site of peaceful protest in Hong Kong.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

A separate rally in Central was also cut short minutes after it began, despite the event being previously approved.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

At around 3pm, hundreds of black-clad protesters streamed into Victoria Park for a gathering that did not receive a letter of no objection from police.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Organisers said they were conducting an “election meeting” in relation to the upcoming District Council election, which – in theory – would not require them to seek police permission.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Riot police deployed in force across Hong Kong Island, and fired the first volley of tear gas on Gloucester Road shortly before 4pm.

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Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Police then advanced on the football pitches and lawn of Victoria Park – an unprecedented move in the months-long protest movement.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“At around 4pm, some violent protestors charged Police cordon line on Hennessy Road near Canal Road Flyover,” the police said in a statement.

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Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our Times. Photo: May James/HKFP.

“Protestors also built barricades with mill barriers and a football gantry at Victoria Park and the vicinity, including Hennessy Road and Kingston Street.”

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Social worker Jackie Chen, who has previously been arrested at protests, was arrested again on Saturday outside Hysan Place shopping mall.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

According to local media, police also arrested at least one District Council election candidate, Richard Chan.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay became protest flashpoints as police deployed water cannon trucks and an armoured vehicle.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Prompted by the police presence, protesters chanted anti-police slogans such as, “disband the police force now” and “corrupt cops, may your whole family die.”

Officers fired numerous rounds of tear gas, including on Hennessy Road outside Southorn Playground.

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Photo: Viola Kam/United Social Press.

Police said that protesters set barricades on fire, damaged shops, committed arson, threw petrol bombs and bricks, and placed nails on the road as of 5pm.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The headquarters of the Xinhua News Agency – commonly recognised as China’s de facto embassy in Hong Kong before the 1997 handover – was vandalised by protesters, with glass panels being smashed near its ground-level entrance.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Authorised rallies banned

At around 6pm, police abruptly halted two rallies to be held in Central, despite both previously receiving letters of no objection.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“Due to various large-scale unlawful assemblies, occupying of roads, violent conflicts and breach of the peace on Hong Kong Island, for public safety and public order, according to s.17 of Cap. 245 Public Order Ordinance, the police [stopped] the two public events in Central area,” the force said.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

“The organisers of the two public events shall follow the instruction of Police and arrange protestors to leave the scene in an orderly manner. The Police appeal to all members of the public not to participate in any related public events in Central.”

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Hundreds of people had gathered at Edinburgh Place and Chater Garden, which were originally meant to start at 5pm and 10pm.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Protesters folded paper cranes in Chater Garden, while the other rally was meant to ask for international support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police fired tear gas in Central shortly before 6pm, as protesters occupied main throughways such as Connaught Road Central.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Fires were set at exits B and C of Central MTR station, as protesters smashed glass panels. The railway operator – which protesters accused of siding with the government – closed Central station at around 6:30pm.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

As night fell, scattered clashes continued in Causeway Bay, Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Tsim Sha Tsui rally

Over in Kowloon, hundreds gathered for an approved “singing” protest on Nathan Road.

Demonstrators chanted and sang the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong. Riot police interrupted at around 4:50pm, eliciting jeers from the crowd.

Several protesters were searched and made to remove their facemasks.

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A moment of prayer in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo: Tom Grundy.

Ms Wong, who applied for the police letter of no objection for the rally, told HKFP that officers were pursuing black-clad demonstrators nearby: “I have confidence in Hongkongers… although there was a big group of riot police and people were somehow nervous, we still managed to keep calm and carry on.”

She said that they had gathered to sing both Hong Kong protest songs, and songs of resistance from abroad: “We are introducing protest songs from all over the world, for people who are under suppression, who are fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights [in] other places in the world.”

Later, a woman who protesters believed was taking photographs suspiciously was surrounded before she collapsed and was taken away in an ambulance.

Hong Kong has now entered into its 22nd weekend of protest and unrest, which was sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would allow for fugitive transfers to mainland China.

Additional Reporting: Tom Grundy.


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In Pictures: Unrest and tear gas around Hong Kong Island, as police halt authorised rallies in Central