Police deployed tear gas for the first time in over a week on Saturday night, as a lull in the recent unrest was broken in Mong Kok.

Photo: Jimmy Lam/USP.

At around 8pm, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Prince Edward MTR station to mark three months since baton-wielding police stormed the station’s platforms and trains, making arrests and leaving several injured.

Protesters chanted insults against the police, burnt funeral papers and laid floral tributes at an MTR exit, which police periodically removed.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The city has been gripped by 25 weeks of unrest sparked by calls for democratic reform and police accountability over their behaviour.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

As the numbers swelled on Saturday, makeshift barricades were erected by protesters in the road, bringing traffic to a halt.

Shortly after 9pm, riot police rushed onto the scene and cleared the intersection, threatening to use pepperspray against protesters, bystanders and the press.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“[Protesters] set barricades along the road, seriously paralysing the traffic. The protestors are participating in an unauthorised assembly. Police warn the protestors to stop all illegal acts immediately,” a press release from the force said.

Photo: Jimmy Lam/USP.

Exit C of the MTR station was closed, though the station otherwise remained open.

Photo: Benjamin Yuen/USP.

A woman suffered an eye injury after an officer fired pepper ball rounds on Prince Edward Road West at around 9:20pm.

Tear gas was deployed shortly before midnight after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a police car, according to RTHK.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

A resident in nearby Jordan told the broadcaster that he felt the police show of force was excessive: “They don’t need to be carrying guns. They don’t need to be threatening the use of force. They just need to show their presence and I think that’s enough to stop things from getting out of control.”

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

More demonstrations

Meanwhile, in Wong Tai Sin, there was a more jovial atmosphere on Saturday evening as hundreds celebrated last Sunday’s District Council election results. Pro-democracy candidates swept the board, winning all seats in the district.

Photo: ST Hui/United Social Press.

Residents shared champagne and a roasted pig, as they danced and sang protest songs. The newly elected district councillors said the would continue campaigning for the movement’s demands.

Photo: ST Hui/United Social Press.

Earlier in the day, a cross-generational rally took place peacefully at Chater Garden in Central.

Speakers criticised the police use of tear gas over the past five months, while pro-democracy boy band Boyz Reborn took to the stage for a performance.

More demonstrations are planned on Sunday. At 10am, there will be a gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central protesting against the effects of tear gas upon children.

At 12.30pm, protesters are set to march from Chater Garden to the US consulate and back to thank Washington for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

And at 3pm, a larger gathering is expected in Tsim Sha Tsui, with marchers proceeding to Hung Hom to reiterate their five demands.


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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. His writing and photography have been featured in Quartz, Global Post, Huffington Post, Time Out, Vocativ, New Internationalist, Ming Pao and others. He has also contributed to BBC World TV, BBC Radio, Democracy Now, CTV, Russia Today, RTHK Radio, Sky News and Channel News Asia.