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.
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.
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