Thousands march in Hong Kong as continues weekend of protests

Aerial view from Po Tsui Park. Photo: Alvin Lum. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Aug 4, 2019, SCMP. Thousands of people are marching in Tseung Kwan O as Hong Kong continues another weekend of protests, while in Central, an emotional wedding of two defendants facing riot charges marks a brief respite for some from the escalating crisis, reported the South China Morninh Post.

At 2.30pm on Sunday, a sizeable crowd gathered at Po Tsui Park in the eastern New Territories for a march to Velodrome Park, with attendance surging as the procession advanced. While on Hong Kong Island, all eyes would be on a rally at 5pm in Belcher Bay Park and whether protesters would march to Beijing’s liaison office, which is nearby.

The demands of protesters remain largely the same, among which is the full withdrawal of the now-shelved extradition bill, and an inquiry into police handling of demonstrators.

The events on Sunday came after clashes the night before in the shopping hubs of Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as in the working-class residential district of Wong Tai Sin.

Among the crowd at the Tseung Kwan O march was Chan Kai-yiu, 50, who came from Tsing Yi.

“The government has not responded to the public’s demands, and seems to not exist any more. Police are also becoming more violent,” he said. “Many people are coming out because they see there is unrighteousness here.”

Another protester surnamed Shek, an artist in his 20s, was at the march with his mother.

“Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Stephen Lo Wai-chung have given public statements but they have not solved the problem at all,” he said, referring to the city’s leader and police commissioner respectively.

“We need an effective dialogue between the government and protesters. At the moment they are doing nothing to solve this crisis.”

At the police station in Tseung Kwan O, water barricades were set up, reflecting a concern over recent protest patterns in which police stations have been targeted. Most of the shops in nearby Well On Shopping Arcade were closed. Some said they planned to shut down later in the afternoon while others expressed no intention to do so.

Meanwhile in Central, dozens of friends and family members packed a marriage registration room at the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry where Tong Wai-hung, 38, and Elaine To, 41, tied the knot.

The couple, who co-own a private gym in Central, were arrested on July 28 during a police operation to clear out protesters in Sheung Wan. They were each charged with one count of rioting – part of a wave of 44 people who have become the first batch of suspects arrested in protests over such offences.

Speaking before the wedding ceremony, Tong said he had planned for a private affair involving just seven people.

“I never thought we couldn’t get married – even if there was a nuclear explosion, I would still marry her,” Tong said. “We feel really touched.”

Hong Kong has been gripped by a spate of protests since June over the hated legislation which would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which the city has no extradition agreement, including mainland China, where critics say there is no guarantee of fair trials.

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