Hong Kong protesters rally in defiance of police ban

Monday, 21 Oct, 2019

In another development, Lam said she would consider reorganising the city's Executive Council, its de facto cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.

Hong Kong police rejected an application for the march by the Civil Human Rights Front.

Protesters believe the police refusal to issue a permit for Sunday's march was an attempt to limit their numbers as some residents would be fearful of arrest for participating. Winnie the Pooh, Guy Fawkes and other characters have come out in force in defiance of a government ban on face coverings at public gatherings. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi's smiling face.

The demonstration took place in a commercial district on the Kowloon Peninsula, despite police declaring the march illegal. One activist urinated onto the police gate.

A water cannon truck and armored vehicle led a column of dozens of police vans down Nathan Road, a major artery lined with shops, stopping frequently to spray liquid tinted blue as they moved to clear the road of protesters and barricades.

In its letter of objection, the police cited violent incidents stemming from earlier protests.

At one point, the water cannon sprayed a handful of people standing outside a mosque. Police said hitting the building was an accident.

Organizers said they wanted to use their right to protest, as guaranteed by the city's constitution despite the risk of arrest. Chinese banks including ICBC and the Bank of China were torched and had glass windows smashed up.

Protesters also targeted shops they consider pro-Beijing.

The company removed a smartphone app from the App Store last week that allowed protesters in Hong Kong to track police, but only a day after Chinese state media criticized the company for providing the app.

"We never rob. We don't forgive".

"There is sympathy between these minorities which do not have enough political space to express themselves" but "that does not mean that we are going to have a common strategy", said Vilanova of the ANC. An explosive device was also detonated by police that had been rigged among broken bricks in the middle of a street. The movement began in June over an extradition proposal from mainland China.

In recent weeks pro-democracy supporters have badly beaten people who vocally disagree with them - although those fights tend to be spontaneous outbursts of mob anger during protests.

The crisis in the Chinese-ruled city is the worst since the handover and poses the biggest popular challenge to China's President Xi Jinping since he took power. A witness told local broadcaster RTHK that the assailant shouted afterward that Hong Kong is "a part of China" and other pro-Beijing messages. "If we stayed silent, the government would continue to walk all over us", 50-year-old protester Giggs Wan said before the march.

He said there is no reason to keep people from hiding their faces, and that he wants to defend Hong Kong's freedom of speech.

The controversial China extradition bill was withdrawn in early September but the movement has morphed into a wider campaign for greater democracy and against alleged police brutality.

Thousands of people, including families with children, have previously defied police to stage mass rallies without permission.