Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters trying to reach the Chinese government’s office.Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken over streets near Sai Wan and Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island.Hong Kong has seen eight consecutive weekends of anti-government and pro-democracy protests.It is ranked as one of the safest cities in the world – but recent protests have been followed by violent clashes between demonstrators, police and masked men wielding sticks suspected of being criminal gang members.
Sunday’s protests saw activists wearing protective helmets and goggles erecting barricades at several different locations and chanting “free Hong Kong”.
The protests began as a police-authorised gathering in a park in the central business district before protesters defied the authorities and marched west towards the Chinese liaison office in Sai Wan and east towards the Causeway Bay shopping area.Hundreds of police blocked the protesters from reaching the Chinese liaison office. The building had been fortified with plastic barricades and a Chinese government emblem above the front door had been covered with a plastic shield, Reuters news agency reported.
Last Sunday the office was targeted by protesters who wrote graffiti and threw paint on its walls. Chinese officials said this was a challenge Beijing’s authority that would not be tolerated.Some protesters chanted “reclaim Hong Kong” and “revolution of our times”, or held up banners that read “end the violence”.
Protestors have barricaded themselves into the streets of the Causeway Bay shopping area.Under neon lights advertising makeup and jewellery they wait with helmets and gas masks for what they believe will be the inevitable assault from riot teams. Tourists carrying shopping bags, including many from mainland China, continue to walk the streets of Causeway Bay as activists shout slogans in favour of democracy.