HONG KONG — Thousands of antigovernment demonstrators in Hong Kong dodged police tear gas and occupied a shopping district and other central areas Sunday, in the second of three straight days of large-scale civil disobedience.
The flash-mob-style maneuvers came a day after violent street clashes erupted between protesters and riot police officers, resulting in more than 20 arrests and a day before a planned citywide strike that may disrupt daily life in Hong Kong.
The weekend of civil unrest — in which thousands of protesters have deliberately kept authorities guessing their next move — may place a new level of pressure on Hong Kong’s unpopular government to meet the protest movement’s demands.
Those demands include an independent inquiry into police violence against protesters and the complete withdrawal of suspended legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
“Protests have been happening in multiple districts at the same time rather than one concentrated area, which is rather unprecedented,” said Samson Yuen, an expert on social movements at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. “As protests move toward residential areas, anger and momentum has been building towards the general strike on Monday.”
On Sunday, the Hong Kong government warned the public not to participate in strikes the next day by disrupting traffic and blocking roads, saying such acts would push the territory into a “very dangerous situation.”
The protest Sunday began with a police-approved march in Tseung Kwan O, a residential district in eastern Hong Kong.
Some protesters vandalized the police station with eggs and spray paint and broke many of its windows by throwing bricks.
By early evening, many protesters had joined an unauthorized march from a western area of Hong Kong’s main island toward Sheung Wan, a neighborhood in the city’s central business district.
Shortly after 7 p.m., riot police officers began to clear the streets by firing tear gas. The police force had accused them of “participating in an unauthorized assembly.”
By 8 p.m., the protesters had largely moved to the Causeway Bay district, farther east on the island, using makeshift barricades to block off a shopping district there.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, riot police officers descended on Causeway Bay and fired multiple rounds of tear gas. The force said on Twitter that it took the measure only after issuing “repeated but futile warnings” for protesters to stop occupying roads and damaging property.
New York Times