HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 6 DECEMBER 2019

6 December 2019

THE SITUATION NOW

Following a week of relative calm after the pro-democracy camp’s victory in the recent District Council elections, violent street clashes occurred during the weekend of 30 November and 1 December. Protesters employed the now familiar tactics of setting fires, attacking mainland China-linked businesses and clashing with police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets and made at least 58 arrests. 


Protesters carry US and other national flags in bid for international solidarity. 30 November 2019

On the afternoon of Saturday 30 November, hundreds of people joined a rally organised by a group of secondary school students and older citizens in Chater Garden, Central, in a show of cross-generational solidarity to support the pro-democracy movement. That evening hundreds of people formed a human chain near the Kowloon Bay Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station, Kowloon, to support those protesters still remaining in the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong (PolyU) almost two weeks after the facility was cordoned off by police after intense clashes on 17 November.

While these two gatherings ended peacefully, protests in Mong Kok, Kowloon, turned violent on Saturday night. A group of demonstrators had earlier gathered at Mong Kok Police Station and Prince Edward MTR station to commemorate the three-month anniversary of the 31 August clashes in which police allegedly indiscriminately attacked passengers. The police used tear gas and pepper spray against the protesters, who had set barricades on fire at the intersection of Prince Edward Road West and Nathan Road and threw petrol bombs at the officers.

On Sunday 1 December, three protest marches, all with police approval, were held without any serious incidents. At 1030 some 200 people, including many parents with their young children, marched peacefully from Edinburgh Place, Central, to Government Offices, Admiralty, to protest against the police use of tear gas. A little later hundreds of people carrying US flags rallied in Chater Garden before marching to the nearby US Consulate to display their gratitude to the American government for signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law. 

Tens of thousands of protesters march in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. 1 December 2019

During the afternoon of Sunday 1 December, a large crowd marched from the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, Kowloon, to the Hong Kong Coliseum in nearby Hung Hom to join a rally intended to reinforce the need to continue fighting for the so-called ‘five demands’ that now underpin much of the protest movement. The march quickly became chaotic after the police used pepper spray and later tear gas against the dense crowd as it moved along Salisbury Road. The police accused participants of deviating from the approved route and throwing smoke canisters. The rally organiser claimed around 400,000 people attended the march while police estimated the turnout was around 16,000. Imagery indicated a far larger number than the police estimates but below that of the organisers.  

A damaged Best Mart 360 shop in Whampoa, Kowloon. 1 December 2019

By nightfall, clashes occurred in the Whampoa area, a commercial centre with private houses and high-end malls next to Hung Hom, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets after hard core activists blocked roads and threw petrol bombs and bricks at the officers. Some radical protesters also smashed traffic lights and set a fire outside the Whampoa MTR station. Shops and restaurants consider opposed to protesters’ agenda and supportive of the local and central governments, including China Mobile, Best Mart 360 and Yoshinoya, were attacked and damaged. Simultaneously, protesters in Mong Kok erected barricades at the intersections of Nathan Road and Dundas Street and Nathan Road and Argyle Street, while the police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Through Monday 2 December to 6 December office workers in Hong Kong’s business districts, including Central, Kowloon Commerce Centre in Kwai Chung and Cheung Sha Wan, began a week of ‘lunchtime protests.’ Violence was not reported as protesters generally dispersed around 1400 each day without significant confrontation with the police. It was notable that the number of participants declined as the week progressed.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD

The number of participants at the weekday ‘lunchtime protest’ rallies declined all week, indicating the activists’ ability to draw large numbers of moderate sympathisers onto the streets has declined markedly. This may be reflected in the decision by the police to permit several marches scheduled for the coming weekend. Their size and conduct will offer an indication as to the future direction of the protest movement, notably among the non-violent ‘moderate’ majority. Nevertheless, we continue to assess it is unlikely there will be a return to the levels of violent confrontation that occurred a few weeks ago, although skirmishes between radicals and the police are almost inevitable.

On Saturday 7 December, protesters plan to restore so-called Lennon Walls located between Kwun Tong Swimming Pool and Amoy Plaza in Kowloon Bay from 0900. We warn this event may trigger countermeasures from pro-Beijing activists and increase the risk of clashes between rival factions.

Another group has called on owners of private vehicles to block the Tsing Ma Bridge, a key route linking Hong Kong International Airport to the downtown area. Most previous efforts to close the Tsing Ma bridge have been well-mitigated by the police. We advise those planning to reach the airport by road to be prepared for traffic disruption and consider alternative routes in the event the Tsing Ma bridge is effectively closed.

A rally to protest against the detention and deportation of Yuli Riswati, an Indonesian journalist who has written about the protest movement, for visa violations is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1500 to 1700. Local transport may be disrupted, but no significant unrest is likely.

On Sunday 8 December, the officially authorised ‘World Day of Human Rights Rally’ organised by the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) is due to march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Road, starting at 1500.The CHRF has been responsible for organising some of the largest marches ever seen in Hong Kong through its ability to mobilise large segments of the territory’s middle classes. Online social media activity indicates the march will be well attended, with activists defining it as the deadline for the government to meet the pro-democracy movement’s ‘five demands’. Despite the CHRF call for a peaceful event, past experience indicates there is a high probability of radicals instigating violence in Hong Kong island’s Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central districts late Sunday afternoon and evening. Major roads in the area are likely to be blocked and should be avoided where at all possible. Disruption to the MTR is also likely.

On Monday 9 December, activists plan to impose a city-wide general strike from 0600. Although details are unconfirmed, we warn major roads and key MTR lines and stations risk being disrupted if protesters attempt to hamper the morning commute. The level of disruption and violence is likely to be largely determined by the events on Sunday, notably the degree of force the police employ at the CHRF march and any subsequent unrest.

On Thursday 12 December, a rally is scheduled at Edinburgh Place from 1900 to 2100 to mark the half-year anniversary of the start of the anti-extradition bill movement on 12 June. We warn the event is likely to be banned by the police if events scheduled over the coming weekend exhibit violence. Nevertheless, it is likely to be well attended, increasing the likelihood that road traffic in the vicinity will be badly affected. There is also the potential for violence directed against such targets as MTR stations and shops perceived as pro-Being, leading to a robust police response.

 

INTERNATIONAL INCIDENTS

On Saturday 30 November, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for investigations into alleged Hong Kong police abuses in an article published in the South China Morning Post. Beijing criticised her views as ‘erroneous’ and accused her of interfering in China’s internal affairs.

On Monday 2 December, the Italian parliament passed a resolution supporting Hong Kong protesters and called for an investigation into alleged police abuses.

 

UPCOMING PROTESTS

Friday 6 December

‘Lunchtime protests’ are scheduled at the following places:

  • Tai Wong Yeh Temple, Wong Chuk Hang in Southern District, Hong Kong island
  • One Island East in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong island
  • Intersection at Cheung Sha Wan Road and Tai Nan West Street in Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
  • InPARK, Tsun Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
  • Macdonald’s on Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong, New Kowloon
  • Kowloon Commerce Centre Entrance, Kwai Chung, New Territories

The ‘Rally of Secondary School Students’ is scheduled at Hing Fong Road Playground in Kwai Fong, New Territories, from 1730 to 1930.

The ‘Say No to Tear Gas’ Assembly is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1900 to 2100. Rally has police authorisation.

Saturday 7 December

Protesters call for drivers to block traffic of the Tsing Ma Bridge that connects Tsing Yi and Ma Wan in New Territories at 1400. Any disruption would affect road traffic to Hong Kong International Airport.

The ‘Kwun Tong March 2.0’ is scheduled from Kwun Tong Swimming Pool to Amoy Plaza in Kowloon Bay, from 0900 to 1500.

The ‘Rally to Support Yuli’ is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1500 to 1700.

Sunday 8 December

The ‘Hotel Sector Strike’ is scheduled at Tin Hau MRT station in Wan Chai from 1200.

The ‘World Day of Human Rights Rally’ is scheduled from Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, to Chater Road, Central, from 1500. Letters of No Objection gained.

Monday 9 December

The ‘Citywide general strike and the Dawn Movement’ is scheduled to start at 0600 with detailed locations to be announced. Event could seriously disrupt morning commute.

Wednesday 11 December

The ‘Healthcare Professions Union Rally’ is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1900 to 2100.

Thursday 12 December

The ‘United We Stand Rally’ is scheduled at Edinburgh Place, Central, from 1900 to 2100. Letter of No Objection pending.

The ‘Rally of Secondary School Students’ is scheduled in San Wo Lan Playground in Tuen Mun, New Territories, from 1730 to 1930.

 

PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 30 NOVEMBER - 5 DECEMBER

Saturday 30 November

Secondary students and older citizens held inter-generational rally in Chater Garden, Central.

In the evening, protesters formed a human chain near the Kowloon Bay MTR Station in Kowloon.

 At night, protesters and police clashed at Mong Kok Police Station and Prince Edward MTR station.

Sunday 1 December

Protest march against the police’s excessive use of tear gas from the Edinburgh Place in Central to Government Offices in Admiralty.

Hundreds of people marched from Chater Garden in Central and to the US Consulate at noon in display of gratitude to the US government signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law.

In the afternoon, tens of thousands joined the march from Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower to Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom. Police used pepper spray and tear gas against the marchers after alleging some protesters had thrown smoke canisters.

At night, activists and police clashed in Whampoa and Mong Kok, both in Kowloon. Protesters damaged Whampoa MTR station and set up barricades at the intersections Nathan Road and Dundas Street and Nathan Road and Argyle Street. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Monday 2 December

1230: Around 1,000 advertising sector workers started a week-long ‘lunchtime protest’ in Chater Garden, Central. Dozens of others attended a rally in Taikoo Place in Quarry Bay.

1330: Hundreds of people joined the lunchtime rally at the intersection of Cheung Shun Street and Cheung Lai Street, Cheng Sha Wan, New Kowloon.

1730: Around 100 protesters gathered at Immigration Tower, Wan Chai, in response to the detention and deportation of Indonesian journalist Yuli Riswati.

Tuesday 3 December

O1330: Protesters rallied in Cheng Sha Wan, New Kowloon.

2030: A crowd gathered on the 3F of the Shun Lee Shopping Mall in Kwun Tong, marched to Shun Tin Estate Sports Centre and returned to the mall.

Wednesday 4 December

‘Lunchtime protest’ occurred at the following places:

  •  IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong island
  • Zero Carbon Building, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
  • Kowloon Commerce Centre Entrance, Kwai Chung
  • Intersection of Cheung Shun Street and Cheung Lai Street, New Kowloon

2030: Around 30 participants joined the ‘Run with You’ rally in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long District, New Territories.

2045: Participants joined the ‘Run with You’ rally in Fo Tan, Sha Tin, New Territories.

Thursday 5 December

‘Lunchtime protest’ occurred at the following places:

  • 'Lennon Bridge,’ Central
  • Kowloon Commerce Centre Entrance, Kwai Chun

2000: Around 100 people joined the ‘Sing with You’ rally in Amoy Plaza, Kowloon Bay.

 

END REPORT