A day of demonstrations across Hong Kong on Saturday began with a peaceful teachers’ march and ended with standoffs between police and young protesters. But after a week in which both sides were criticized for taking violence and mayhem to new levels, there were no clashes.
In the densely populated Mong Kok district, protesters gathered Saturday evening outside a police station, shined laser pointers at windows and threw eggs at the officers guarding the entrance. Officers in riot gear took over nearby streets and chased some demonstrators. But the crowds had largely dispersed by 8 p.m.
Some supporters of the protest movement may have been saving their energy for Sunday, when organizers are hoping for a large turnout in Victoria Park, in the Causeway Bay district. They had applied for a permit to march from the park to the Central district, essentially the same route taken in two enormous marches in June, but police turned them down. Organizers have appealed that decision, saying it puts people in danger because many are likely to march regardless.
On Saturday, young protesters distributed flyers promoting the Sunday rally. Some demonstrators chanted, “Go to Victoria Park on Aug. 18!”
Most of the protest events Saturday were peaceful and reflected the breadth and variety of the movement. The wave of demonstrations began more than two months ago to oppose a now-suspended bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. But the movement has broadened to include other demands, including universal suffrage and an investigation of the police.
Brenda Chow, 55, a substitute teacher, was among the thousands who gathered in Central for the morning rally led by teachers. “We are here to protect our students, to protect our children and to voice our demands,” she said.
A sign of the protest movement’s continued vitality came Friday evening, when a rally in Central drew thousands of people. The gathering was peaceful and largely over by 10 p.m.