Anti-government protesters threw eggs and ink-filled balloons at China’s top office in Hong Kong on Sunday night following a mass rally against the now-suspended extradition bill.
Organisers of Sunday’s protest, the Civil Human Rights Front, said 430,000 people participated. Police said 138,000 joined at its peak.
The police initially demanded that the event end at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai, but protesters continued marching towards Admiralty, as police retreated.
As some arrived at Harcourt Road in Admiralty, they entered the highway and halted traffic.
Many then decided to leave for the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan, dragging barricades into the road as they proceeded westwards.
The crowd chanted “reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” a slogan used by now-jailed activist Edward Leung during his 2016 election campaign.
A university fresh grad, who refused to give his name, told HKFP that there were no prior plans to go to the Liaison Office.
“It’s like what people said online: be water,” he said, referring to the movement’s philosophy that they should move frequently and unpredictably. “We felt that occupying Harcourt Road did not mean anything.”
“We did not think of chanting Leung’s slogan either. Somebody did that and we followed,” he added.
As protesters arrived, some spray painted security cameras and scrawled graffiti on the walls.
At around 7:30pm, protesters hurled eggs at the building, with some hitting its front door, as well as the Chinese emblem.
At 7:45pm, a protester read out a statement in both Cantonese and English. They reiterated the demands of the anti-extradition movement, including a complete withdrawal of the now-suspended bill, a retraction of the “riot” characterisation of the June 12 protests, and an unconditional release of all arrested protesters. They also called for a disbanding of the legislature and implementation of universal suffrage.
The statement said that peaceful protests, and the fact that some had taken their lives in incidents linked to the demonstrations, had not moved the government. They also accused the authorities of using “violent means” to deal with protesters.
“We love Hong Kong and do not want Hong Kong people to bleed or die for protecting our homes. But we will use all means to force the government to respond to our demands,” the statement said.
“After the Handover, using an unjust system and systemic violence, the Hong Kong government has repeatedly implemented evil laws, ignoring Hong Kong people’s interests. We will not rule out forming an interim legislature to return Hong Kong to the right track, to become a united, democratic, free and just society,” they added.
After reading the statement, some threw ink balloons at the Liaison Office, with some hitting the Chinese emblem.
Police then said they would take action, as officers in riot gear arrived on the scene.
Protesters decided to leave Sai Wan and head towards Central, where many who joined Sunday’s march had convened.
By 8:45pm, police had retaken the area as most protesters headed eastwards back to the central business district.
As some passed the Central Police Station in Sheung Wan, they spray-painted slogans on its walls and threw bricks through the station’s windows, according to Apple Daily.
The controversial extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China, sparking public concerns over human rights in Hong Kong.
On July 9, Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead,” but did not enact any mechanism to withdraw it, nor agree to other demands.