Shouting matches broke out twice on Wednesday during the annual pro-democracy rally, as protesters argued with police as well as pro-Beijing hecklers along the march route.
The first arguments broke out when student activist group Scholarism accused the police of surrounding their booth in Causeway Bay. They added that police stopped them from distributing leaflets to the crowd. Activists responded by chanting slogans and calling on the police to “give way.”
The crowd stopped marching forward, and some argued with officers on the scene. Police said they were maintaining order at the spot. They told the crowd to “move forward,” adding that they did not block protesters from marching ahead. Scuffles broke out between police and the protesters.
Police eventually agreed to retreat to the sidewalk after conferring with colleagues over the walkie-talkie. Scholarism then asked people to continue walking ahead.
The second instance occurred when protesters marched past pro-Beijing group Defend Hong Kong Campaign near Canal Road. Members of the group, led by Po Chun-ying, were seen waving China’s national flag.
Members of localist group Civic Passion also set up at the same location, where they shouted “defeat the Chinese Communist Party” at the pro-Beijing group. Crowds booed at the group as they walked past.
Protesters from 7.1 rally booing the Defend Hong Kong Campaign near Wan Chai. pic.twitter.com/k2kOlga47G
— Eric Cheung (@EricCheungwc) July 1, 2015
Police separated both camps with barriers, but clashes recurred when a woman waving the Chinese flag tried to walk into the crowd of pro-democracy demonstrators, one of whom then chased her out and accused her of “betraying Hong Kong.”
Scuffles ended when police intervened and another man from the pro-Beijing side pulled her back.