Hong Kong- In defiance of a police ban, tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters packed into a park and have again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.
While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed on Sunday, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a massive march as crowds spilled out into neighbouring streets and moved west towards the original destination.
Even as tropical rain began pouring down, the protesters remained undeterred and were covered with a sea of colourful umbrellas as they jammed major thoroughfares.
To the beat of a stationary drummer, demonstrators inched through the crammed streets of a neighbourhood called Wan Chai, while a person holding a microphone led a chant demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive: “Carrie Lam, step down!”
Protests were originally sparked by the proposal of a now-shelved extradition bill, which would have allowed for the extradition of suspects to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.
When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a “one country, two systems” framework was established to protect its unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.
“We think this is an end game, the last time we fight,” said a 27-year-old lifeguard who asked to be identified as May, who wore a surgical mask to protect her identity. “We’re not stepping back this time.”