Police deployed tear gas in Causeway Bay on Sunday as protesters gathered for an anti-authoritarianism march, coinciding with rallies across the world.
They intend to head from SOGO department store to government headquarters in Admiralty, but organisers did not apply for police approval.
As demonstrators heckled and threw plastic bottles at police, officers baton-charged through the crowd at around 2:15pm, deploying pepper spray.
Officers made several arrests before multiple rounds of tear gas were fired.
Demonstrators then fled west towards Wan Chai and east towards Tin Hau, though many later returned to SOGO.
The department store – at the centre of the busy shopping district – closed ahead of Sunday’s protest.
At 2.43pm, the government issued a press release urging people to leave the area.
It said protesters had “gathered at the junction of Hennessy Road and Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, blocking carriageways. In view of the situation, police officers have deployed tear gas, using appropriate force to disperse protestors.”
Services were suspended at Wan Chai police station, whilst some nearby government facilities were closed.
The Police appeal to everyone on site to leave immediately。
Residents of the area are advised to stay tuned to the latest situation and if necessary, keep their windows shut and stay indoors.
— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) September 29, 2019
Initially, it was themed as an “anti-Chinazi” march, but the term was dropped after deliberations between protesters, many of whom agreed that linking China to atrocities caused by Nazism may not be well received.
On the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, one of the organised had urged protesters to peacefully disperse after it ends, so as to save energy for planned protests on China’s National Day on October 1. “We have to save Hong Kong ourselves – we will show our will globally,” the organiser said.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong have entered their 17th week, as the city marks five years since the birth of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement this weekend.
Since June, large-scale peaceful protests against a bill that would have enabled extraditions to China have evolved into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy and alleged police brutality.
Throughout the weekend, solidarity rallies are planned in Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, UK and US.
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