More than 200,000 people formed a human chain, dubbed “The Hong Kong Way,” across the city on Friday night in a show of opposition to the government’s changes to the extradition law and reluctance to respond to public demands.
The human chain was held between 7-9pm on August 23, which was the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way – a famous stunt in eastern Europe.
The event was staged to reiterate the five demands that local protesters have been calling for, which the Carrie Lam administration has yet to agree to.
The demands include the complete withdrawal of the hated extradition bill, the withdrawal of “riot” charges laid against some people who took part in protests on June 12, the establishment of an independent probe into events during the three months of protests, the release of all arrested protesters and implementation of universal suffrage.
Friday’s gathering sought to emulate an event from 1989 when more than a million protesters from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed a human chain that spanned nearly 700 kilometers across the three then-Soviet republics which were still part of the USSR.
The Baltic states eventually all gained independence, and many young Hong Kongers appear to yearn for a similar miracle.
The protesters’ aim was to link people all the way from Tsuen Wan to Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Tong on the Kowloon side, and from Kennedy Town to Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island, in a peaceful demonstration across 39 MTR stations.
Participants chanted slogans like “Free Hong Kong!” and “Recover Hong Kong, revolution of the times!”
A group of protesters also climbed up Lion Rock and formed a “light chain” to echo the Hong Kong Way event.
Organisers estimated a total of 210,000 people took part. Protesters went home peacefully at 9pm.
Meanwhile, the protests continued on Saturday, when tens of thousands of people rallied in Kwun Tong to urge the government to respond to the five demands, as well as to make people aware of privacy issues linked to the government’s ‘smart lampposts’ initiative.
Protesters began a march at 1.30pm at Tsun Yip Street Playground and walked to the Zero Carbon Building in Kowloon Bay via Hoi Bun Road.
At noon, MTR services between Choi Hung and Tiu Keng Leng were suspended due to “safety reasons” with a lot of protesters failing to reach the protest site in Kwun Tong. Organisers of the rally accused the MTR Corp, once again, of working against freedom of assembly in Hong Kong.
On Saturday morning, a proposed occupation event did not happen at Hong Kong International Airport after the High Court extended a ban on protests there indefinitely. A few protesters were seen at the airport in the morning but they left for the Kwun Tong protests.