Hong Kong protesters have pasted rows of colourful pro-democracy posters stretching across the island to recreate a “Lennon Wall” on the fifth anniversary of the Umbrella Movement.

Photo: Isaac Yee/HKFP.

Shortly before 4pm on Saturday, masked crowds began to plaster signs related to the city’s enduring pro-democracy movement on surfaces stretching from Causeway Bay to Admiralty. Some of the flyers also took aim at the police for their handling of the current political crisis, whilst others referenced the five core demands put forward by protesters since June.

Photo: inmediahk.net.

The event’s name—”Liberate Hong Kong, Lennon Wall Revolution”—was coined from a popular protest slogan by jailed activist Edward Leung merged with the name given to colourful message boards, which have sprung up across the city since the start of the movement in June.

“Lennon Walls” have at times been sites of conflict, with a bloody knife attack taking place in Tseung Kwan O last month after a man assaulted a woman following a heated political argument. More recently, pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho called on groups to “Clean up Hong Kong” by tearing down the message boards. Though Ho later backtracked on his call citing potential conflicts, groups nevertheless turned up to tear down posters across the city, with some minor confrontations breaking out. A woman on Friday was left bloodied after demonstrators kicked her to the ground for tearing down flyers inside a pedestrian tunnel in Central.

Photo: Isaac Yee/HKFP.

Near the original “Lennon Wall” site by Tim Mei Avenue, protesters unfurled a large yellow banner over Harcourt Road reading “We are back”—a reference to a sign erected towards the end of the 2014 protests reading “We’ll be back.”

Saturday also marked five years since the start of the city’s huge pro-democracy Umbrella Movement which saw thousands occupy major thoroughfares for 79 days over calls for universal suffrage.

Hong Kong is entering its 17th consecutive week of protests sparked by a now-soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill which would have enabled fugitive transfer to China. What began as largely peaceful demonstrations have devolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent against Beijing’s encroachment, calls for democracy and other community grievances.

Photo: Isaac Yee/HKFP.

An authorised rally organised by the Civil Human Rights Front—a coalition of pro-democracy groups—to mark five years since the start of the mass protests 2014 is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening at Tamar Park.

Photo: Isaac Yee/HKFP.

Hong Kong’s rail operator closed several MTR exits at stations in Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Admiralty, and dozens of riot police have been deployed in anticipation of the event.

At 6:02pm, the Legislative Council Secretariat issued a red alert urging all people to leave the facility immediately owing to safety concerns.

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Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.