Hong Kong police deployed water cannon against protesters for the first time on Sunday, as violence broke out in Tsuen Wan.
Tear gas was also fired at the anti-government march, which began in Kwai Chung.
Two water cannon trucks were deployed, following months of preparation. The force has purchased three Mercedez Benz trucks costing a total of HK$27 million.
They were used to clear barricades as well as used against protesters.
Throughout the afternoon, thousands of Hongkongers marched along a winding route through hills and industrial buildings to reiterate the five demands of the anti-extradition law movement and denounce police violence.
The march began at Kwai Chung Sports Ground at 2:30pm, with its spectator stands completely filled with black-clad protesters chanting slogans.
Demonstrators then marched peacefully to Tsuen Wan Park amid heavy rain, with many remaining until the clashes began.
Marchers chanted: “The five core demands, we won’t accept anything less” as well as “corrupt cops, give us the eye back” – referring to the incident on August 11 where a woman was allegedly shot in the eye with a beanbag round.
Ada Tam, who works at an airline, told HKFP that she was concerned about a “climate of fear” in Hong Kong, as demonstrated by the pressure applied to carrier Cathay Pacific by Beijing.
“Now they can get you for anything you say or do, even if it is in private or outside of work hours,” Tam said. “Hong Kong needs to stand up against this.”
Another marcher in his twenties, who declined to give his name, said that he had given up hope on the effectiveness of protest marches, but he joined anyway because he was a Tsuen Wan resident.
“It doesn’t feel right if I just stay home,” he said.
A few marchers also told HKFP that they hoped the protests would continue into September, with students participating in a planned class boycott.
Near the endpoint, protesters began to occupy the intersections around Yeung Uk Road.
They built makeshift roadblocks with construction barricades and bamboo, but riot police arrived at the scene and entered a stand-off with demonstrators.
Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan attempted to mediate and ask the police to wait for peaceful protesters to leave – and for Tsuen Wan West MTR Station to be re-opened – but to no avail.
Tear gas was deployed at around 5:35pm.
Protesters threw bricks and Molotov cocktails, hurled abuse and used catapults against the police.
Dozens were arrested at around 7pm as police cleared Yeung Yuk Road.
It was the 12th consecutive weekend of protests in the city, which saw a flare-up of violence on Saturday despite Chief Executive Carrie Lam calling for a return to “calm” and peaceful dialogue.
The protest was initially banned by police on public safety grounds, but the decision was later reversed after organisers agreed to a compromise and altered their route.
The letter of no objection from police for the rally at Tsuen Wan Park was meant to expire at 7pm.
Meanwhile, the MTR announced two hours before the march began that it would close three stations: Kwai Fong and Tsuen Wan stations on the Tsuen Wan line, and Tsuen Wan West station on the West Rail line.
The stations were shut down at 1:30pm, with police officers forcibly evicting people from the premises. Tsuen Wan District Councillor Roy Tam told media that police arrested his assistant and detained him inside the closed Kwai Fong MTR station.
The MTR closures on Sunday came after the rail operator issued a statement announcing a change of policy, where it would no longer arrange special trains to stations affected by protests.
Protests on Saturday also saw shutdowns at Kowloon Bay, Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong and Lam Tin stations. Chinese state media had previously accused the rail operator of being an “accomplice to rioters.”
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