Chaos engulfed Hong Kong’s financial heart on Saturday night as police fired tear gas at petrol bomb-throwing protesters who took to the streets for a 13th straight weekend.
Police had banned the demonstration on security grounds and on Friday arrested several key activists and legislators in a dragnet on pro-democracy figures.
But Saturday afternoon, large crowds – many in their signature black T-shirts and under a colourful canopy of umbrellas – defied the order to snake through Hong Kong island, blocking roads and chanting ‘reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times’.
Video from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB showed police viciously swinging batons at train passengers who backed into one end of a carriage.
The video also shows pepper spray being shot through an open door at a group seated on the floor while one man holds up his hands.
It was not clear if all the passengers were protesters.
Police resorted to firing tear gas at protesters who took to the streets in Hong Kong for the 13th straight weekend of demonstrations
As evening fell, violence ricocheted through the commercial centre of the city, with a minority of hardcore protesters unleashing a barrage of petrol bombs and rocks at riot police. Pictured: They set a barricade on fire on Saturday
Police fired a water cannon and rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters massed at a barricade (pictured) in front of the city’s parliament, known as the Legislative Council (LegCo), which was stormed in July during the early days of the protest movement
A man is detained by police during the rallying on a main street and a number of pro-democracy activists have been arrested – including Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow from the Demosisto part
Saturday afternoon, large crowds – many in their signature black T-shirts and under a colourful canopy of umbrellas – defied the order to snake through Hong Kong island, blocking roads and chanting ‘reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times’. Pictured: The barricade alight
Paramedics escort an injured demonstrator who was caught up in the violence and who wanted to end the possibility of criminal suspects being sent to mainland China for trial
Police guards stand outside while other officers arrest protesters at Prince Edward MTR Station in Hong Kong on Saturday night
Up in smoke: Flames engulf the city after the city’s dissidents set a barricade on fire and put the central district in darkness
As evening fell, violence ricocheted through the commercial centre of the city. Pictured: A protester wearing a mask picks up an exploded tear gas shell and throws it back at police officers
The same protester uses a shield to cover himself as he faces policemen in Hong Kong on Saturday
Police said they entered the station to arrest offenders after protesters assaulted others and damaged property inside.
The TVB video was widely shared on social media as another example of police brutality during the protests.
That same night, protesters set fire to a large roadblock near Hong Kong police headquarters, sending billows of black smoke into the night sky.
The group used plastic bollards, metal fencing and seating from a nearby sports ground to build the barricade before starting the blaze in the central district of Wan Chai.
A minority of hardcore protesters unleashed a barrage of petrol bombs and rocks at riot police.
Police fired a water cannon and rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters massed at a barricade in front of the city’s parliament, known as the Legislative Council (LegCo), which was stormed in July during the early days of the protest movement.
Police fired round after round of tear gas and pummelled protesters with blue-dyed jets of water as they took cover beneath umbrellas between the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and government HQ (picture: protesters try to evade the water cannon)
Protesters react after tear gas and water canons were used by police. Local media reported that the brightly-coloured spray they used aimed to make it easier to identify suspects
Protesters tried to shield themselves from officers who are using pepper spray to detain them inside a train at the Prince Edward MTR Station
Some of the dissidents were heard chanting ‘stand with Hong Kong’ and ‘fight for freedom’. They were successful in grinding the city to a halt with their use of tear gas (pictured)
Police attempt to arrest protesters at a Hong Kong station and those which are demonstrating unauthorized could face up to give years in prison, according to Hong Kong police commander Kwok Pak Chung
Protesters use boards and umbrellas to take cover from water cannon today in a ferocious standoff close to the PLA headquarters
The demonstrators tried to stand firm, hurling bricks and petrol bombs and pointing green laser beams at the police (pictured: barricades erected by the police burning)
A police officer fires tear gas from behind a shield at protesters during today’s anti-government rally in Hong Kong
Protesters with their umbrellas held up for protection against tear gas on the streets of Hong Kong today
They briefly broke through the barrier outside the building, but were repelled by tear gas and jets of blue-coloured liquid fired from the water cannon.
Local media reported that the brightly-coloured spray they used aimed to make it easier to identify suspects.
‘Peaceful protest doesn’t work,’ 22-year-old demonstrator Stone said, giving one name.
‘I think they (the hardcore protesters) have to vent their anger to achieve something.’
Huge crowds of protesters on the 13th straight weekend of demonstrations. Opposition to a controversial extradition bill – now suspended but not permanently withdrawn – has brought much of Hong Kong to the streets
A demonstrator wearing protective gear and using a mini telescope surveys the scene at the rally in Hong Kong today
Their makeshift machinery appears to include a road camera and pump for firing at the barricades
A group of local residents drive through the demonstration and pass a protester who is poised targeting his weapon – and one woman one the bus is quick to get the moment on camera
Ticket machines have been sprayed and vandalized across the city in the 13th week of anti-government demonstrations which initially started peacefully
Demonstrators take positions and shield themselves from tear gas with umbrellas during the protest in Hong Kong
They wear special masks to shield themselves from the tear gas while they dominate major shopping districts in the city
Earlier on Saturday, protesters marched by the official residence of Hong Kong’s embattled Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam, who is the focal point of anger after trying to pass a bill which would have allowed extradition to China.
Opposition to the extradition bill – now suspended but not permanently withdrawn – has brought much of Hong Kong to the streets, with millions marching peacefully but also groups of radical protesters clashing with police.
The protests have expanded into a wider pro-democracy call and a rejection of attempts by Beijing to curtail the freedoms of the semi-autonomous territory.
Protesters were in defiant mood throughout Saturday, which marked the fifth anniversary of Beijing’s rejection of a call for universal suffrage for Hong Kong that sparked the 79-day ‘Umbrella Movement’ in 2014.
Many demonstrators are determined not to let the new movement fizzle out like the Umbrella protests did.
‘It’s ‘now or never’ for Hong Kong,’ said a 33-year-old accountant who gave her surname as Wong.
‘I’m a mother-of-two. They didn’t come today but their grandmother did. We’re defending the right of assembly for the next generation in Hong Kong.’
Protesters react after police fired tear near the government headquarters
Demonstrators duck behind umbrellas as tear gas fills the air in Hong Kong on Saturday
A protester wearing a mask today on the streets of Hong Kong as thousands rallied near the PLA headquarters
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters march in Admiralty on Saturday
Earlier today masses of old and young alternated between singing hymns and chanting the slogans of the pro-democracy movement as they march from a Methodist church and then on to police headquarters.
Among them, a man dressed as Moses with a tablet of the ‘Five Commandments,’ a reference to the five demands that have been brought by the activists.
Another man wore a red cap which said, ‘Make Hong Kong Great Again’, while holding a placard which read: ‘God free HK from Nazi China.
An online flyer for the demonstration called it a ‘prayer for sinners’ and had a Christian cross and a picture of Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam.
Religious meetings do not require police approval, but police said late Friday that a procession with more than 30 people does.
The participants in the religious march were peaceful and mostly older than the younger protesters who have led this summer’s movement and, in some cases, blocked streets and battled police with bricks, sticks and gasoline bombs.
Authorities turned down an application from another group for a major march but were preparing for widely anticipated unauthorised demonstrations.
A protester holds a flag with the Chinese colours and stars manipulated to appear like a swastika
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters march in Admiralty today. They have continued demonstrations across Hong Kong since June 9
A protester writes ‘Fight for freedom’ on a wall during a rally in Hong Kong today
Protesters gesture during a rally in Hong Kong on Saturday. The movement started with anger over planned legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China
Police arrested a number of prominent pro-democracy activists and three lawmakers on Friday, seeking to rein in a movement which started with anger over planned legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China.
It soon broadened into calls for democracy amid fears China is squeezing Hong Kong’s freedoms.
But the latest protests have no leaders. The slogan is ‘be like water’, meaning be flexible.
Marchers on Saturday were marching here and there, wherever streets took them, communicating with different hand signals and chanting ‘stand with Hong Kong’ and ‘fight for freedom’.
Some said roadblocks were forcing marchers to splinter.
China denies the charge of meddling in Hong Kong, which it says is an internal affair. It has denounced the protests and warned of the damage to the economy.
A man dressed as Moses with a placard with the ‘Five Commandments’ takes part in the protest at the athletic park on Saturday afternoon
A protester holds a placard reading ‘God Free Hong Kong from Nazi China’ while wearing a ‘Make Hong Kong Great Again’ hat at the protest
A woman during a rally called ‘Calling One Hundred Thousands Christians Praying for Hong Kong Sinners’ today
Riot police move in with shields to guard the protest in the city this afternoon. Beijing has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the demonstrations and warned against foreign interference
A woman holds a cross in front of the Mongkok Police Station as riot police holding shields stand guard during a standoff with protesters
China is eager to quell the unrest before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1 but protesters vandalised a long red banner celebrating the event to cheers from the crowd.
Beijing has also accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the demonstrations and warned against foreign interference.
Hong Kong returned to China under a ‘one country, two systems’ formula that allows it to keep freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, like the freedom to protest and an independent legal system.
There have been frequent clashes between protesters and police, who have often fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, amid accusations of excessive force.
‘A lot of people from the outside think it is the police who escalate (the violence) first,’ a police officer told a media briefing. ‘This is not true.’
An off-duty policeman was attacked late on Friday night by three unidentified men with a knife in the Kwai Chung container port area, suffering wounds to his limbs and back, police said. The news was a top-trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
A police officer holds a banner warning people from gathering on the streets of Hong Kong today
Protesters push a trash bin during the Christian rally today as they are watched over by riot police
Protesters unfurled their umbrellas as rain began to pour this afternoon in the city
A demonstrator dressed as a priest has an umbrella held high over his head on Saturday
A protester holds a cross and poster which reads ‘Stop police disrupting Hong Kong, implement five demands’ during the rally on Saturday
A protester dressed as legendary biblical figure Moses with a mock tablet attends a pro-democracy protest in Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Many of the protesters unfurled their umbrellas once again, a symbol of the movement
With protesters and authorities locked in an impasse and Hong Kong facing its first recession in a decade, speculation has grown that the city government may impose emergency laws, giving it extra powers over detentions, censorship and curfews.
Lawmaker Fernando Cheung said the arrests of the three legislators were probably aimed at causing more anger and chaos to justify the use of emergency laws.
‘To incite more people to come out today is totally ridiculous,’ he told Reuters.
Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.