Hong Kong police fired tear gas as a few hundred protesters gather outside Prince Edward metro station in the Mongkok district, a focal point for demonstrations, a Reuters witness said yesterday.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Hong Kong shopping malls during the day demanding “freedom”, but expected street protests failed to materialise in any significant size as the scarred city struggled to recover from violent clashes in recent days.
Earlier in the day, protesters formed large circles inside multi-level shopping malls and chanted “disband Hong Kong police force”, “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” and “I have the right to wear a mask”, as shoppers on a public holiday looked on.
A journalist working with Hong Kong’s public broadcaster was recovering in the hospital yesterday after being hit by a petrol bomb on Sunday night.
Hong Kong’s metro rail system, which typically carries about 5 million passengers a day, was only partially operating due to what authorities said was “serious vandalism” on Sunday night. Some stations were torched in the protests.
Many shops and Chinese banks were also extensively damaged.
Hong Kong’s government may curb access to the internet in a bid to contain months of increasingly violent pro-democracy protests, a cabinet member told AFP yesterday, after an emergency-law ban on demonstrators wearing face masks failed to quell the unrest.
A 38-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man were charged yesterday for violating the emergency laws. They were also charged with unlawful assembly.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the ban was needed to contain the unrest, which began nearly four months ago and has seen millions of people take to the streets demanding China stop strangling their freedoms.
Ip Kwok-him, a veteran pro-Beijing politician and member of Hong Kong’s executive council, fuelled those concerns when he said controls on the internet could be introduced.
“The government will not rule out the possibility of placing a ban on the internet,” he told AFP.
Ip said the internet has been crucial to protesters, who have no public leaders and use online forums and encrypted messaging apps to mobilise.