Molotov cocktails, burnt barricades and tear gas … The heart of Hong Kong again plunged into chaos on Saturday with violent clashes between police and protesters who braved a deluge and the bans to invade the streets of the former colony again. British.
The police had justified not allowing a new demonstration on Saturday because of the risk of violence and recalling the clashes last Sunday, among the most serious since the start of the protest in June.
But tens of thousands of protesters dressed in black – the emblematic color of the movement – spread in the afternoons in several neighborhoods in the heart of the semi-autonomous region.
"Take back Hong Kong, the revolution of our time," they chanted.
The tension mounted in the late afternoon, when a small group of radicals attacked with stones and Molotov cocktails policemen arranged around the complex housing the Hong Kong institutions including the Legislative Council (LegCo), the "Parliament" local who had been sacked on 1 July.
They briefly managed to break down the barriers protecting the LegCo, before being promptly repulsed by the police with much tear gas, with the intervention of guns projecting a particular blue liquid.
Local media reports that this dye should help identify suspects.
"The pacifist demonstrations do not work," said a 22-year-old protester calling himself Stone. "Radicals must make anger speak to get something."
"We will not surrender," said a graffiti on a wall at the nearby Admiralty metro station.
The protesters then moved towards the East.
In particular, they burned a huge barricade of seats pulled from the stands of a sports field near the police headquarters in the Wanchai area (center). The flames were extinguished after half an hour.
"Radical protesters have launched incendiary and corrosive bombs" against the police, police said in a statement, speaking of "serious threat" for everyone around.
Earlier, a group marched near the residence of local chief of staff Carrie Lam, the former home of the British governor perched on the first slopes of Victoria Peak.
Ms. Lam focuses the ire of the protesters for not having formally withdrawn her controversial draft law on extraditions that was in June the trigger for the mobilization.
Another group found themselves in the busy shopping area of Causeway Bay, crowded like every Saturday.
"I'm ready to face the consequences of demonstrating," said a protester calling himself Jay. "But we Hong Kong have freedom of assembly."
Hong Kong has been experiencing its worst crisis for nearly three months since it was handed over to China in 1997, with almost daily actions that have sometimes degenerated. An unprecedented situation that authorities in the semi-autonomous region are struggling to meet.
The protest extended its demands to the denunciation of the growing influence of China on its semi-autonomous region and the decline of freedoms.
"It's now or never," says an accountant who calls herself Wong. "I have two children who did not come, but their grandmother is there. We defend the right to demonstrate for the next generation. "
This Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of Beijing's refusal to hold universal suffrage elections in Hong Kong. This decision triggered the 2014 Umbrella Movement, marked by 79 days of occupation of the financial and political heart of the city.
In the end, this historic mobilization had ended without any concessions from the Chinese central government. And the current protesters are determined not to let their movement die slowly, hence the creativity of their modes of action.
The pro-democracy movement was also saturated by the arrest the day before of three deputies and five prominent activists.
Among them, two representatives of the "Umbrella Movement", Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, aged 22, charged with "incitement to participate in an unauthorized gathering", before being released on bail.
On Saturday morning, LIHKG, a popular protesters forum, announced on Twitter that its application had been the target of "the worst attack ever".
More than 900 people have been arrested since June.