The Chinese national emblem, disgraced last Sunday by a spot of black ink, has dawned this Sunday behind a transparent plastic plate, visible but covered, in anticipation of a new day of protests that, for the eighth consecutive week, have paralyzed Hong Kong and turned some of its streets into a pitched battle.
If in the massive marches of a month and a half ago the number of participants exceeded one million, this Sunday there have been thousands of people who have taken the city center in the second illegal demonstration of this weekend. In a video shared on his Twitter profile, the Hong Kong police force explained the three reasons why it had not authorized the protest: the violence used in previous calls, a rarefied social environment that makes confrontations more likely, as well as the inability of the organizers to guarantee the security of the assistants. The recording concluded with a declaration of intentions that, unthinkable in mainland China, shows what is at stake: "We want to find a balance between the prevention of violence in public events and the ability of citizens to express their opinion."
Making deaf ears to the warnings, the concentration began to walk at three in the afternoon from its initial point, Chater Garden, aimlessly. Some went east, where they occupied the commercial area of Causeway Bay, the scene of the umbrella revolution five years ago, after which the democratic spirit of the city seemed to have surrendered. Others headed, in the opposite direction, to the west, to the Liaison Office, representing the Chinese Government in the territory, where the national emblem was waiting for them after a screen.
The city has thus been divided into two fronts. The most energetic clashes have taken place on the west side, where riot agents have resorted to tear gas to disperse the crowd, which has fragmented into small groups that have continued brawls in several of the adjacent streets. In Des Voeux Road West, the security forces have reduced and detained at least 15 young people, while in other ways the hooded ones have raised small palisades of paper and cardboard to which they have set fire to hinder the police advance.
Also this afternoon activist Max Chung has been arrested, accused of organizing the illegal rally on Saturday in the Yuen Long neighborhood. Chung, signatory of the request for the call later denied, has abandoned the RTHK television set in police custody, where he had come to be interviewed. The demonstration on Saturday condemned the attack suffered last Sunday by supporters of protests at the hands of local mafias. It was in the same place, the subway station, where on Saturday night the police charged the protesters while they left the area, which resulted in 17 injured people.
The Liaison Office has published a statement on Sunday morning in which it denies being behind the aggressions perpetrated by the triads – local underworld name–, a habitual rumor that the text describes as "malicious", while reaffirming "its opposition to any type of violence". The Office of the State Council for Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, the Chinese political institution with more authority in relation to both territories, has also broken its silence to announce that this Monday will issue its first statement regarding the conflict that has turned the smoke of tear gas in a habitual vision in which until two months ago it was one of the most peaceful cities in the world. The national emblem, for now, is safe.