Protesters will rally in seven districts across Hong Kong when a city-wide strike is staged on August 5, marking the latest disruptive escalation in a months-long confrontation with government and police authorities.
Organizers say the seven districts will include Tamar Park in Admiralty, MacPherson Playground in Mongkok, Wong Tai Sin Plaza, Tin Hau Temple Fung Shui Square in Tai Po, Tuen Mun Cultural Square, Bishop Hill Hundred Stairs in Shatin and Tsuen Wan Park.
Hong Kong police have been approached by the organizers for protests in Admiralty, Mongkok, Wong Tai Sin, Tai Po and Tuen Mun and will consider whether to object to the planned actions. According to media reports, some protestors will gather in Tsuen Wan Park to “observe flowers” and will not seek police permission. Some protestors will also gather at the gates of Hong Kong Disneyland.
According to the Public Order Ordinance, people are required to get an official notice of “no objection” from the police before they can legally protest in public areas. A protest without a letter of no objection can be treated as illegal assembly, under local law.
Police banned protests staged last weekend, including in an area of Hong Kong where triad members are known to reside, in a bid to avoid violence. Suspected triad gang members attacked protestors and others at a MTR station on July 21.
According to the Hong Kong Observatory, it is likely to be a sunny day on Monday with a few showers. Temperatures will be between 27°C and 31°C during the daytime, the forecast said.
Organizers of the seven-district protests said at a press conference on Saturday (August 3) that 24 sectors, involving 14,000 workers, will join the strike on Monday.
They urged the total withdrawal of suspended extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong criminal suspects to be tried in China, the establishment of an independent commission to investigate recent street clashes, a retraction of the government’s characterization of the June 12 protests as a “riot”, withdrawal of all charges against protesters for recent incidents and the implementation of universal suffrage.
The August 5 strike is expected to hit the economy, and might cause the government to take an even stronger stand, said Dennis Ng, president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association. People should minimize disruption to others when they pursue their political demands, said Jimmy Kwok, the honorary chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.
On August 2, Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who fled to the United States in 2015, said in YouTube footage that China’s central government will impose martial law and deploy People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops to Hong Kong on August 4. On Saturday, the Hong Kong government said in a statement that rumors about the imposition of a curfew in the city are “totally unfounded.”
At 2:30pm on Saturday, tens of thousands of anti-extradition protesters gathered at the Anchor Street Playground in Mongkok. They began their march at 4pm and walked along the Oak Street, Hoi Wang Road and Hoi Ting Road to the Cherry Street Park. The original route, which ends at the MacPherson Playground, was banned by the police due to safety concerns.
Several shops around the Anchor Street Playground closed ahead of the start of rally, RTHK reported.
At around 4:30pm, thousands of protesters occupied the Nathan Road and walked towards Tsim Sha Tsui. They called for the public to join the strike on Monday.
They took over Kowloon’s Nathan Road at the junction of Argyle Street in Mong Kok.
Hundreds of protestors, who were wearing masks, helmets and other protective gear, surrounded the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station. They set up barricades on Middle Road and Austin Road and threw eggs and bricks at the police building.
At around 9pm, a small fire broke out on the gates outside Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station. It was put out by firefighters.
Protestors also surrounded the Mong Kok Police Station. At around 8:15pm, a team of riot police came out and tried to disperse them.
At 6:30pm, some protesters blocked off the Kowloon side of the Cross Harbour Tunnel. Due to safety reasons, they retreated back to Mong Kok. The tunnel was reopened by around 7.30pm.
Protestors continue to occupy key roads in Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. At around 9:30pm, riot police fired tear gases to disperse protestors and arrested some of them in Mongkok. Some protesters burned debris on Nathan Road and threw some gasoline bombs but no one was hurt.
At around 10:30pm, some protestors moved to surround Wong Tai Sin Police Station.
On Friday evening, tens of thousands of Hong Kong civil servants and protesters held a rally in Chater Garden in Central district to oppose the extradition bill. They called for an independent inquiry into all recent political incidents. Organizers said there were 40,000 participants at the rally, while police claimed that there were only 13,000 at the demonstration’s peak.
Anson Chan Fang On-san, Hong Long’s former chief secretary, praised the civil servants for having the courage to show up at the rally on Friday after the Civil Service Bureau tried to discourage them.
Joseph Wong Wing-ping , former secretary for the civil service, said the civil servants who joined the Friday gathering did not violate the “political neutral” principle as it was part of their civic duties to point out the wrongdoings of top government officials.
On Saturday morning, two pro-Beijing lawmakers, Alice Mak Mei-kuen of the Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker and Ann Chiang Lai-wan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, urged the government to respond to the protesters’ demands in order to end the political disputes.
It was not immediately apparent that city officials intended to respond to the protesters’ latest calls.