Police used water cannon against crowds in Tsim Sha Tsui on Tuesday as they gathered to mark one month since Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam invoked emergency legislation to ban the use of masks at protests.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out in Tseung Kwan O near the site where a university student fell from height at a car park. Riot police fired tear gas near midnight, as some protesters were spotted throwing Molotov cocktails.
At around 7:30pm, hundreds gathered in Tsim Sha Tsui near the Urban Council Centenary Garden, with many wearing Guy Fawkes masks popularised in the film V for Vendetta.
The film has become an inspiration for the city-wide protest movement, with many quoting lines from the film such as “People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.”
Aside from being one month after the mask ban was imposed, November 5 also marks the anniversary of the failure of the 17th-century Gunpowder Plot in the United Kingdom.
Police said a large group of protesters occupied “Nathan Road, the junction of Chatham Road South and Austin Road as well as its vicinity,” paralysing traffic and vandalised shops.
Targets of vandalism included the Hunghom Cafe – which protesters accused of being pro-government.
The chain store Best Mart 360 and Bank of China were also graffitied.
The water cannon truck arrived on the scene shortly after 9pm, firing liquid laced with irritant at crowds near the Hong Kong Museum of History.
News footage showed that the water cannon also hit cars on the road that were stuck in traffic.
Apple Daily reported that at least six women and one man were arrested in the Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood.
Protests first sparked by the now withdrawn extradition law have continued since June. They have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police action, calls for democracy, and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.
Tseung Kwan O tear-gassed
Separately, police clashed with protesters near Kwong Ming and Sheung Tak estates in Tsueng Kwan O, where crowds gathered to express discontent towards police over the case of a university student who fell from height.
The 22-year-old University of Science and Technology student – who fell one storey at a car park on Sunday night – remained in a critical condition after multiple surgeries to remove haematoma from his brain. While the circumstances of his fall were unclear, many believe that he was trying to escape tear gas at the time.
Police representatives have denied allegations that the student was pushed by officers. They also said that officers did not delay paramedics from reaching the student, despite there being a near half-hour gap between the discovery of his unconscious body and him being taken away in an ambulance.
The police on Tuesday denied allegations that officers had pushed the student off the car park or had delayed the arrival of medical help.
On Tuesday, police returned to Tseung Kwan O and fired tear gas at around 11pm, and again after midnight.
News footage showed that some protesters threw at least one Molotov cocktail, while others threw hard objects and chanted slogans. The crowds had mostly dispersed by around 2am.
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