Hong Kong police made more than 370 arrests on Wednesday, deploying the water cannon truck and firing rounds of tear gas against pro-democracy protesters.

Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

Police also fired pepper balls in Causeway Bay during cat-and-mouse chases with demonstrators.

See also: ‘We fear no more’ – Thousands protest Hong Kong security law as police use water cannon

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The unrest came after the passing of Beijing’s national security law for the city.

Photo: Kero/United Social Press.

Critics say the legislation, which criminalises secession, subversion, foreign interference and terrorism, will gag the city’s remaining freedoms and stomp out political dissent.

HKFP_Live: Demonstrators are defying the new security law in Causeway Bay's Times Square as they wave pro-independence flags.

Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Wednesday, 1 July 2020
Photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

Crowds defied public gathering warnings and took to the streets from early Wednesday afternoon, with pockets of unrest springing up across Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some groups vandalised a Maxim’s cakes store on Percival street as well as a Maxim’s-owned Starbucks branch.

Protesters have targeted the caterer due to their links with pro-Beijing individuals.

HKFP_Live: Police and protesters are clashing in Causeway Bay as officers make dozens of arrests and deploy water cannon.

Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Throughout the day, protesters chanted “five demands, not one less” and sang the pro-democracy anthem “Glory to Hong Kong.”

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Some protesters scattered funeral joss papers around the road to symbolise the “death” of One Country, Two Systems.

At one point, Hong Kong’s Kim Jong-un impersonator “Howard” turned up, wielding a prop nuclear bomb.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

As the day wore on, brief skirmishes broke out along Hennessy Road as protesters formed makeshift roadblocks using rubbish and bricks, before dispersing when police arrived to clear the roads.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

In a statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association condemned the police for firing water cannon at a reporter earlier in the afternoon – saying that the officer in the truck did not stop until he noticed another undercover officer next to the targeted reporter.

Arrests under new law

Police said that, as of 10pm, 370 had been arrested for “unauthorised assemblies, disorderly conduct, possession of [an] offensive weapon and other related offences.”

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Among the arrested persons, 10 were apprehended for allegedly breaking the national security law.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

The force have targeted demonstrators chanting pro-independence slogans or wilding independence flags.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

Police said that crowds “blocked roads and occupied multiple lanes on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai. They dismantled banners on the roadside and threw them to the carriageway. Some rioters even blocked the road with railings and rubbish bins and set fire to the barricades, seriously endangering public safety.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the force condemned the stabbing of an officer in Causeway Bay while he unsuccessfully attempted to make an arrest. After the incident, the officer shouted “Can anyone help me?” but no one responded, according to Stand News.

Additional reporting: Tom Grundy.

Latest

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.