Thousands march in Hong Kong as petrol bombs thrown in metro | China News

Protesters have rallied at multiple locations in Hong Kong, defying police warnings they were gathering illegally.

Thousands of marchers joined the rally in Kowloon on Saturday, while a small gathering of hundreds of retirees gathered outside police headquarters on Hong Kong Island. 

The majority of protesters wore masks over their mouths in defiance of a week-old ban that makes face coverings punishable by one year in jail when worn at rallies.

A cohort of police wearing riot helmets and banging their plastic shields followed some distance behind, clearing roadblocks left by the march.

Demonstrators chanted a new slogan urging fellow residents to “resist” – and by evening time, many were chanting “see you tomorrow” – a sign that larger demonstrations may be planned for the remainder of the weekend.

An anti-government protester wears a mask during a demonstration at New Town Plaza shopping mall in Hong Kong

An anti-government protester wears a mask during a demonstration at New Town Plaza shopping mall in Hong Kong, October 12, 2019. [Ammar Awad/ Reuters]

Hong Kong’s protests started in opposition to a now-abandoned extradition bill but have widened in four months into a pro-democracy movement and anger at what they believe is China‘s tightening grip on the semi-autonomous territory. Beijing denies the accusation. 

Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Hong Kong, said Saturday’s marches drew smaller crowds and were peaceful as compared with a rally last weekend, which spiralled into a night of running battles between protesters and police.

Still, Saturday’s protests “did not pass without incident”, Brown said. “Two metro stations were attacked. One of them had a petrol bomb thrown into it.”

The police reported on its Facebook page that rioters tossed petrol bombs inside a Kowloon subway station, “posing a threat to the safety of citizens” but causing no injuries.

An anti-government protester holding a dog wears a mask during a demonstration at New Town Plaza shopping mall in Hong Kong

Colonial-era emergency laws were introduced a week ago banning face masks at public rallies [Ammar Awad/ Reuters]

Meanwhile, outside the police headquarters, about 200 people, many of them retirees, gathered peacefully, some shouting abuse at plain-clothes officers who did not intervene.

“The young people have already sacrificed a lot, it is about time for us, the senior citizens in Hong Kong to come forward to take up part of the responsibility from the young people,” 63-year-old Shiu told local media.

“I mean for us, even if we are caught by the police because of an illegal gathering, I don’t mind,” said Shiu, who was identified with only one name.

There were gatherings of several hundred people in other locations, too. A rally in a shopping mall pulled together about 300 people who sang and put up protest posters.

Al Jazeera and news agencies


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