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 early in the afternoon, crowds of protesters dressed in black – the emblematic color of the movement – spread through the streets of 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 started throwing stones at policemen around the complex housing the Legislative Council, the local "Parliament", and the Hong Kong executive headquarters. .
Near Carrie Lam's
The police fired tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse them, while the protesters broke down the protective barriers and threw Molotov cocktails at the security forces.
The LegCo was invaded and ransacked on 1 July, the 22nd anniversary of the retrocession of the former British colony.
Previously, a group marched near the residence of the head of the local executive Carrie Lam, former residence 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 Lam focuses the ire of the protesters for not having formally withdrawn her controversial draft law on extraditions that was in June the trigger for the mobilization.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.
"Now or never"
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 prodemocracy movement was also saturated by the arrest the day before of three deputies and five prominent activists.
Among them, two prominent representatives of the "umbrella movement", Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, aged 22, were arrested on Friday at dawn, and subsequently indicted, including for "incitement to participate in an unauthorized gathering ". They were then released on bail.
Pray for the "sinners"
On the sidelines of a meeting in Helsinki, the head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini found the situation "extremely worrying". US President Donald Trump has called for calm, urging Beijing to act "with humanity" against the protesters.
Amnesty International has denounced "tactics aimed at spreading fear straight from Chinese textbooks".
Many activists had discussed online how to continue to support the movement without risking arrest.
The protesters had suggested a whole bunch of initiatives, such as going "shopping mass" or praying for "Hong Kong sinners" at "religious gatherings" that do not require the same authorization as a protest
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. The police, however, denied wanting to undermine the weekend's protests. "This is totally false," spokesman John Tse told reporters.