Hong Kong: A fresh round of protest broke out in Hong Kong on Sunday when a crowd clad in black arrived at Victoria Park in an anti-government rally, just a day after tens of thousands of people took to the streets on the 11th weekend of unrest sparked by the now-shelved extradition bill.
It has been estimated that the rally would be attended by nearly 100,000 people or more. However, the rally will be allowed only inside Victoria Park as the front could not ensure public safety given violence at recent protests, said police officials.
The protest organiser, the Civil Human Rights Front, which had previously organised protests that drew millions of people, had applied to the police for a “peaceful, rational and non-violent” march from Causeway Bay to Central.
Sitting on the concrete soccer fields in the Park, protesters held placards that read “Free Hong Kong!” and “Democracy now!” while holding umbrellas in the other hand to shield themselves from the heavy rainfall, Reuters reported.
“The people of Hong Kong are outraged at the government and police,” the organiser said, adding their says fight will not be over even after Sunday’s rally ends.
He criticised the police for firing tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds on the protesters and even near elderly-care homes.
Reading out the rally declaration the rains, Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham said that while the protesters had pressurised the government into suspending the now-shelved extradition bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China, the city police were carrying out Chinese-government-style suppression.
On Saturday, relief spread across the city as anti-government protests ended relatively peacefully with no tear gas fired, the South China Morning Post reported.
On the other hand, over the past week, tensions have reached a boiling point following the violent clashes with police after some protesters swarmed the Hong Kong airport accusing the police of using increasingly excessive force.
Protests in Hong Kong took a dramatic escalation in June after the city plunged into one the worst political crises ever. In its tenth week now, rights groups and democracy activists have been rallying over the Hong Kong government’s now-shelved extradition bill.
The administration dropped the draft legislation on June 15, with city leader Carrie Lam later declaring it dead. Many feared that the bill, now suspended, would have led to the decline of civil and political rights in the Asian city.