Thousands of protesters marched peacefully earlier on Sunday in Hong Kong to keep the government on its toes and encourage withdrawal of its controversial extradition bill. However, protests broke out between the participants of the demonstration and the police in riot gear.
Six people were arrested, according to a statement by the police, just after 3 am local time this morning. One protester was detained for “failing to produce proof of identity” and the five others were arrested for assaulting a police officer or obstructing the police according to a report by The Guardian.
The march – being given official permission by the police – started around 3.30pm local time at Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon peninsula, at a park by the harbour front, a popular tourist attraction. Organisers estimated a participation of over 230,000 in the march however the Police claimed only 56,000 attended.
The demonstration descended into chaos close to midnight on Sunday with many protesters yelling “Leave now! Leave now!”. They were beaten and could not escape, being trapped between the police who advanced towards them from both directions. Truncheons were used and some were pressed on to the ground.
Carrie Lam has finally offered to meet university student representatives behind closed doors in the hopes of finding a way forward, but has showed no other signs of giving in to any of the protesters’ political demands.
This march was the first major demonstration since the storming and deliberate destruction of Hong Kong’s legislature by protesters last Monday, a move that that was strongly condemned by the Hong Kong and Chinese governments drew major international attention. The extradition bill – allowing suspects to be removed from the semi-autonomous city to face China’s flawed justice system – has incited several mass rallies over the past month.