Hong Kong (AFP) – Hong Kong democracy activists kicked off a weekend of fresh rallies on Saturday in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week — and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move.
The new marches came as thousands of pro-government supporters — many waving Chinese flags — gathered in a park to condemn their opponents and support the police, a stark illustration of the polarisation now coursing through the city.
Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with communist-ruled mainland China taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.
Democracy activists are billing the weekend rallies as a way to show Beijing and the city’s unelected leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support, despite increasingly violent tactics deployed by a minority of hardcore protesters that have cast a shadow.
Against police orders, Hongkongers leave Victoria Park and take to the streets
Civil Human Rights Front, which is behind the biggest demonstrations against the extradition bill, had been banned from holding a march to Central
The day after tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong, another massive rally is under way at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay on Sunday afternoon.
Relief spread across the city as anti-government protests ended relatively peacefully on Saturday, with no tear gas fired, on the eleventh consecutive weekend of unrest.