Umbrella-carrying Hong Kong democracy protesters march in the rain for fresh round of rallies

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong anti-government protesters marched in pouring rain on Sunday, regrouping under a sea of umbrellas after sometimes violent clashes a day earlier that prompted police to fire tear gas for the first time in more than a week.  

The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to a sports stadium in the vast container port of Kwai Chung, from where they were marching to nearby Tsuen Wan. 

M. Sung, a 53-year-old software engineer in a black mask emblematic of the many older, middle-class citizens at the march, said he had been at almost every protest and would keep coming.

Umbrella-carrying protesters took to the streets in the rain Sunday in Hong Kong's latest pro-democracy demonstration, one day after the return of clashes with police who used tear gas to disperse them

Umbrella-carrying protesters took to the streets in the rain Sunday in Hong Kong's latest pro-democracy demonstration, one day after the return of clashes with police who used tear gas to disperse them

Umbrella-carrying protesters took to the streets in the rain Sunday in Hong Kong’s latest pro-democracy demonstration, one day after the return of clashes with police who used tear gas to disperse them

The Chinese-ruled city's rail operator, MTR Corp, suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to Kwai Chung sports stadium in Kwai Fong from where they were marching to nearby Tsuen Wan

The Chinese-ruled city's rail operator, MTR Corp, suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to Kwai Chung sports stadium in Kwai Fong from where they were marching to nearby Tsuen Wan

The Chinese-ruled city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to Kwai Chung sports stadium in Kwai Fong from where they were marching to nearby Tsuen Wan

The march in an outlying community in Hong Kong's New Territories started near the Kwai Fong rail station, which has become a focal point of protesters after police used tear gas in the station earlier this month. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading 'corrupt police return eyes to victims' as demonstrators march in the rain today

The march in an outlying community in Hong Kong's New Territories started near the Kwai Fong rail station, which has become a focal point of protesters after police used tear gas in the station earlier this month. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading 'corrupt police return eyes to victims' as demonstrators march in the rain today

The march in an outlying community in Hong Kong’s New Territories started near the Kwai Fong rail station, which has become a focal point of protesters after police used tear gas in the station earlier this month. Above: A protester holds up a sign reading ‘corrupt police return eyes to victims’ as demonstrators march in the rain today 

‘We know this is the last chance to fight for ‘one country, two systems’, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party will penetrate our home city and control everything,’ he said.

‘If we keep a strong mind, we can sustain this movement for justice and democracy. It won’t die,’ Sung said.

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China, but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement.

Protesters say they are fighting the erosion of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement under which the former British colony returned to China in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. 

The protests pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.

Beijing has sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills just over the border.

What do Hong Kong protesters want?

Apart from the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong demonstrators have listed five demands and have continued to urge the government to respond to them.

These five demands are:

1. A complete withdrawal of the extradition bill

2. A retraction from the government to its characterisation that the protesters were ‘rioters’

3. Unconditional and immediate release of protesters who were arrested and charges against them dropped

4. Establishment of an independent inquiry to investigate police violence during clashes

5. Genuine universal suffrage  

The Chinese Government has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement.

The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies.

Today, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan, the second day of station closures in a row.

Despite this, protesters continued to gather at Kwai Chung sports stadium in the pouring rain before beginning the march to Tsuen Wan. 

A second rally of a few hundred, some of them family members of police, was also held on Sunday afternoon.

One relative, who said she was the wife of an officer, said they had received enough criticism. ‘I believe within these two months, police have got enough opprobrium.’

‘I really want you to know even if the whole world spits on you, we as family members will not,’ she said, giving her surname only as Si.

Police said they would launch a ‘dispersal operation’ soon.

‘Some radical protesters have removed railings … and set up barricades with water-filled barriers, bamboo sticks, traffic cones and other objects,’ they said in a statement. ‘Such acts neglect the safety of citizens and road users, paralysing traffic in the vicinity.

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also gathered at Kwai Chung sports stadium before marchingProtesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during today's protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also gathered at Kwai Chung sports stadium before marchingProtesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during today's protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Hong Kong has been gripped by three months of street demonstrations that started against a proposed extradition bill to China , but have spun out into a wider pro-democracy movement. Above: Protesters also carried bamboo sticks to block a road during today’s protests. Yesterday, riot police fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of the bamboo poles, stones and bottles

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR - the city's metro - is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an 'exclusive' service to ferry protesters to rallies

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR - the city's metro - is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an 'exclusive' service to ferry protesters to rallies

Demonstrators used the poles to block a road. The MTR – the city’s metro – is the latest Hong Kong business to be rebuked by the public, after appearing to bend to Chinese state-media attacks accusing the transport system of being an ‘exclusive’ service to ferry protesters to rallies

Today, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Today, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Today, the MTR shut stations near the main demonstration area in Tsuen Wan in western Hong Kong, it was the second day of station closures in a row. Above: Protesters march past rows of police

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed 'white terror' by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather today in Hong Kong

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed 'white terror' by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather today in Hong Kong

Beijing has used a mix of intimidation, propaganda and economic muscle to constrict the protests in a strategy dubbed ‘white terror’ by the movement, but that has not stopped hundreds of thousands of protesters from gathering on their streets. Above: Protesters clutching umbrellas gather today in Hong Kong 

Demonstrators also removed road barriers during their march during through Kwai Fong, in Hong Kong today

Demonstrators also removed road barriers during their march during through Kwai Fong, in Hong Kong today

Demonstrators also removed road barriers during their march during through Kwai Fong, in Hong Kong today 

‘Remember, your job is to serve Hong Kong residents, not be the enemies of Hong Kong.’

The city’s officers are often the focus of protesters’ anger because of their perceived heavy-handling of the rallies.

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters.

Saturday’s clashes saw police baton-charge protesters and fire tear gas, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles later into the night in a working-class neighbourhood. 

Ten people were left in hospital after Saturday’s clashes – two in a serious condition – staff said, without detailing if they were police or protesters

The city had appeared to have pulled back from a sharp nosedive into violence, with the last serious confrontation taking place more than a week ago, shortly after protests paralysed the financial hub’s airport.

Demonstrations started against a bill that would have allowed extradition to China, but have bled into wider calls for democracy and police accountability in the semi-autonomous city.

Protesters say Hong Kong’s unique freedoms are in jeopardy as Beijing tightens its political choke hold on the city.

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