The authorized meeting was held by Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team, which described it as a “pre-march assembly” for a rally scheduled for next Sunday that is billed as a “universal siege on communists.” Next week’s event will call on the international community to sanction the Hong Kong government for not responding to protesters’ demands, organizers said.
The often-violent unrest started seven months ago after the government proposed a law allowing extraditions to jurisdictions including mainland China. Although the extradition bill has since been withdrawn, protesters’ demands have broadened and are now focused on a call for greater democracy, with increasing anti-Beijing sentiment.
“It’s become impossible for the movement to stay peaceful. People of Hong Kong are braver now — we are awake to what the police and government are doing,” said one of Sunday’s protesters, a 19-year-old who would only identify himself as Eric. “They are the ones who showed us being peaceful does nothing, that we were sleeping and dreaming that things might change.”
Sunday’s gathering followed a march in the morning by a couple of dozen people carrying China national flags in the border town of Yuen Long, where protesters were attacked in a train station after a rally on July 21 last year. The morning procession made its way to the local police station where they demanded the arrest of a pro-democracy legislator whom they accused of inciting the violence in Yuen Long.
On Saturday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam visited the wife of a construction worker who was set on fire in a clash with demonstrators in November. Lam said in a post on her Facebook page that she delivered a HK$300,000 ($39,000) donation from trade unions to the injured man’s family. She wished the victim, who is still in hospital, a full recovery.
Later on Saturday, a 15-year-old girl was arrested for criminal damage outside the British Consulate in the city center, police said. The girl drew graffiti on a road divider, according to an emailed statement from police.