Yesterday, what organizers estimated at 1.7 million Hongkongers, about a quarter of the city’s population, marched from downtown Victoria Park toward the Central district, despite both pouring rain and police disapproval in the eleventh week of pro-Democracy protests against Chinese government encroachment on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms.
Hongkongers protesting in the rain yesterday.
Image: Studio Incendo.
The Civil Human Rights Front had sent the police a plan for yesterday’s march, which they rejected, approving only a gathering in Victoria Park.
Protesters started at the park, Causeway Bay, and Tin Hau early yesterday afternoon and walked until early evening, when police vans arrived, and the crowds dispersed. Many carried signs or wore eyepatches in reference to a young woman whose eye was said to have been severely injured by police in an earlier protest.
A university student named Wong said, “Even though the weather was so bad, even in the face of threats of the People’s Liberation Army and water cannons, Hong Kong people never back down. […] For as long as the government doesn’t respond, there will only be more large-scale protests.”
Hongkongers have been protesting since early June, when their government proposed a bill that would have allowed the central Chinese government to extradite people who had been accused of crimes from Hong Kong and try them in the mainland’s judicial system. Although the bill was suspended, protesters’ demands have expanded to complete dismissal of the bill, an investigation of police misconduct during the protests, and greater democratic reform, including a more representative process of electing Hong Kong’s leaders.
The British relinquished control of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Since then, the territory has been governed under the “one country, two systems” model, meaning the Chinese government has allowed Hong Kong to have its own legislature, justice system, and capitalist economic system.
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