Hundreds of thousands of protesters held their massive show of peaceful activism in the wide paths and parkways of Hong Kong on Sunday, August 18.
Hong Kongers did not only disregard the police ban and dangerous threats from Chinese government but also the torrential rain that day. The recent mass demonstration is now on the 11th uninterrupted weekend of their protests.
Organizers claimed that there were 1.7 million people who joined the rally from the Victoria Park though the downtown areas. From the top view, the city became a sea of slow moving umbrellas.
The police estimated that the number of people at the starting point of the rally is at 128, 000 — consists of young and senior people. The demonstration was generally viewed as a test of movement’s persistence after weeks of rising violence between police and the protesters.
Anti-government people wore black during their rallies, a color associated with their anti-government movement. They were shouting “Hong Kongers Assemble: Peaceful, Rational, and Non-Violent Protesters Stand Out” as they move forward slowly. At the same time, their carried signs and chanted slogans speak “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight for Freedom” and “Hong Kong add oil!”
The movement was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, the same organizer which arranged the two massive peaceful marches in June that attracted hundreds of thousands of participants.
Hong Kong protesters
The protesters were not permitted by the police to march out of the park to Chater Garden in Central District as planned. However, by 6 P.M. local time, protesters congested the several main roads through the Causeway Bay, which is the city’s main shopping area, to Admiralty district, an area near the city’s Legislative Council offices.
Their movement began in June because of the now shelved extradition bill. Recently, Hong Kongers has expanded their calls for greater democracy and government accountability.
“I have no idea what comes next but all we can do as citizens is [to] keep going, protest peacefully and let the government and regime know our demands,” said a protester named Louie, 43 years old, whose job is in the IT industry.
Another protester, Howard, said he was fighting against the police violence.
“We want the government to listen to us, withdraw the extradition bill and also have an independent panel investigating police abuse and those officers should be stood down.”
On Sunday, the Hong Kong government state calls for the restoration of social order and suggested officials to begin having a dialogue with the public once the demonstration has calmed down.
Although Hong Kong’s international image has now tainted and its economy is already suffering because of the consecutive protests, people are hopeful that their sacrifices will yield positive results.
“All these two months we have gone through a lot but we should not lose hope and we should keep fighting,” Howard said.