See More on Facebook


Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted.

Written by

Updated: August 19, 2019

Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18).

This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat.

Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying to take photos.

The crowd had thinned by late Sunday night and traffic later resumed.

Traffic at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel was also disrupted by protesters while all MTR services resumed on Sunday night after earlier disruptions.


Protesters who marched from Causeway Bay to Central on Sunday night did not not set up any road blocks, unlike in previous marches.

Mr Jimmy Sham, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) which organised Sunday’s rally, said 1.7 million people attended the group’s event at Victoria Park. But police said 128,000 people joined the rally at its peak.

“Today has been peaceful, which is exactly what Carrie Lam asked for,” Mr Sham said, referring to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive.

“I also believe there won’t be clashes tonight. I trust in Hongkongers’ wisdom. Carrie Lam must respond to the five demands in order to show Hongkongers peaceful and rational expression can be heard, accepted and met,” he said.

“If she continues to turn a deaf ear, she is instigating more radical struggles,” he added.

In a statement, a government spokesman noted that while the rally was largely peaceful, there were inconveniences caused to the public with the disruption to traffic after protesters occupied key roads. The spokesman reiterated that it was most important to restore social order as soon as possible, adding that the government will “begin sincere dialogue with the public, mend social rifts and rebuild social harmony when everything has calmed down”.

He also said CHRF has applied for another march from Chater Garden to Beijing’s Liaison Office in the western part of Hong Kong island on Aug 31.

Mr Sham said the CHRF will lodge a judicial review against the police ban on the Sunday afternoon march.

For the first time, police banned the CHRF from holding a march – originally planned from Victoria Park to Chater Garden – and allowed it to organise only a static rally in the park that can accommodate some 100,000 people.

Earlier in the afternoon, the crowds, battered by heavy rain, had gone ahead with the march after gathering at Victoria Park in the city’s 11th consecutive weekend of demonstrations against a controversial extradition Bill.

Ms Michelle Wen, 23, a student at Hong Kong Education University, told The Straits Times: “We have typhoons in Hong Kong, and people still go to work. Some rain is not going to stop people from coming out to speak up for a cause they believe in.”

With Victoria Park packed to the gills, some protesters started marching towards Wan Chai and Admiralty, with many spilling onto major roads in Causeway Bay, including Hennessy Road, Yee Wo Road and Pennington Street, after leaving the park.

One group of protesters reached Admiralty, near the government headquarters and the legislature, while another group reached Chater Road in Central, according to local media. Protesters were told by CHRF to disperse from Chater Road.

The Front billed the gathering at Victoria Park on Sunday as a peaceful, rational and non-violent rally. It is the organiser of massive rallies seen in the past three months: the June 9 march that drew a crowd of a million people and the June 16 march that clocked two million participants – the largest since the city was handed back to the Chinese from the British in 1997.

By 2pm, the park was packed with people, mostly clad in black and some with young children in tow. The rally participants chanted, “Hong Kong yahn, gah yau” in Cantonese, or “Hong Kong people, keep it up”, as well as “Free Hong Kong, democracy now” in English.

Meanwhile, several bus routes were re-routed or suspended due to the crowds marching on the roads. Some trains would not stop at Tin Hau, Causeway Bay and Fortress Hill MTR stations as they became very crowded and special train services were deployed to help people leave Tin Hau station, the MTR Corporation said.

Among those who turned up for the rally was pro-democracy group Demosisto’s Isaac Cheng, 19, who was giving out flyers asking people to boycott classes when the new school term starts in September.

When asked if the massive number of arrests have impacted students’ determination to carry on protesting when the new school term starts, Mr Cheng told The Straits Times that there has been some impact as the frontline protesters have already been subject to violence by the riot police. But he believes this has little effect on the student protesters whom he said will press on.

“Under this kind of abnormal circumstance, we are no longer able to go back to school. We have to boycott classes and fight with the government till the end,” he added.

Student Parker Chan, 20, said he is afraid of being arrested, but still joined the protests as he finds the police unreasonable and that the government has failed to address their demands to fully withdraw the now-suspended extradition Bill, among other things.

“Those arrested can get charged with illegal assembly and rioting. These are very serious charges so people are afraid,” he told ST.


Observers said that after last Sunday’s arrests of protesters during clashes with the police, the more radical ones are now “really considering the overall risks for mounting either a Hong Kong-wide protest or to concentrate in one area”.

“The risks for both strategies would have been elevated because in the past, they believed that if they have enough manpower to spread around, they can wear down the police. This tactic has proven to have failed given last Sunday’s massive arrests,” associate professor Dixon Sing of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology told ST.

In an open letter to Hongkongers, the CHRF had said that Sunday’s assembly “continues the will of the two million people who marched on June 16 against brutality”.

It added: “Today is not an ending. The path of resistance is long, because, ultimately, only democratic universal suffrage can fundamentally turn around the current situation of unfettered violence from the regime.

“Aug 31 is the fifth anniversary of the National People’s Congress’s undemocratic and restrictive decision on universal suffrage in Hong Kong. We ask you all to commit to stand together, and to come out again on Aug 31!”


For the first weekend in almost three months, protests on Saturday were largely peaceful with no bloodshed or chaos and devoid of violent clashes on the streets between riot police and protesters.

Over the past two months, marches often started out peacefully but descended into violence, with protesters clashing with police who deploy tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

On Saturday, thousands gathered in the Hung Hom district for a march amid a light drizzle where they walked from Hoi Sham Park to Whampoa in Kowloon to Whampoa MTR Station.

While most of the protesters who took part in the march had stopped at the approved end point at Whampoa MTR station, others deviated into other areas.

They headed towards To Kwa Wan where they threw eggs and spray-painted the walls of the workers’ club of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions (FTU). They said the FTU are the true rioters for their involvement in the 1967 leftist riots.

Other demonstrators continued on to Mongkok, where they surrounded the Mongkok Police Station, which had put up netting to prevent objects from getting tossed in.


Earlier on Hong Kong Island, thousands gathered in a rally in Tamar Park in Admiralty in a show of support for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, her administration and the police.

The rally, billed as anti-violence, had many participants waving Chinese flags and singing the Chinese national anthem.

Organiser of the pro-government rally, Safeguard Hong Kong Alliance, pegged the turnout at 476,000 people. It added that the protesters have disrupted social order and the rule of law and are destroying Hong Kong.

In the morning, heavy showers did not stop thousands of teachers and students from showing up for a march that called for the Hong Kong government to address protesters’ demands.

Demonstrators gathered at Chater Garden in Central, just hours after a pro-independence rally at the same park the night before.

Protests began four months ago when the Hong Kong government mooted a controversial Bill – now suspended – that would allow the authorities to extradite people to countries it has no formal extradition agreements with, including mainland China.

The anti-extradition protests have since morphed into a broader movement seeking universal suffrage and an independent probe into police’s handling of the protests.

So far, the police have arrested 748 protesters since the June 9 mass rally against the Bill.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further

By China Daily
March 13, 2020


Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug

By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020


Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke

By China Daily
March 11, 2020


China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily

By China Daily
March 10, 2020


More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z

By China Daily
March 9, 2020


South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit

By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020