Prodemocracy protesters form human chains for New Years in Hong Kong
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters formed long human chains on Tuesday in Hong Kong to await the transition to 2020, with a large demonstration planned for New Year’s Day.
Thousands of demonstrators, holding hands for miles on city streets, sang “Glory in Hong Kong”, the anthem of protest, and held up posters calling for the 2020 battle for democracy to continue .
In the evening, police used water cannons to disperse small crowds of protesters in the Mong Kok neighborhood, while in the neighborhood near Prince Edward, protesters holding a candlelight vigil were arrested.
Other rallies were still planned overnight in different parts of the city.
The big traditional New Year’s fireworks in Hong Kong have been canceled for safety reasons, replaced by a sound and light show with small pyrotechnic effects.
International financial center, the former British colony has experienced its most serious crisis since June since its handover to Beijing in 1997. The challenge to obtain democratic reforms has resulted in peaceful marches bringing together millions of people, but also violent clashes between police and demonstrators, the former firing tear gas and rubber bullets, the latter launching Molotov cocktails.
In a video message posted on Facebook, the head of the local executive Carrie Lam assured that she intended to “listen humbly to find a way out”, without mentioning the demands of the demonstrators.
“Thanks to 2019, the horrible masks of the police and the government have been ripped off and people have been able to see the truth,” said Kris, a protester who participated in the human chains. “The movement is in a kind of dead end now. A strong participation in the march of tomorrow (Wednesday) could rekindle the flame, we hope ”.
On November 24, the pro-democracy camp won local elections, which were perceived as a referendum on the management of the crisis by the local government supported by Beijing. The protest has since seen a lull with sporadic clashes.
Demonstrations also took place Tuesday in several shopping centers, which have become usual sites for protesters who are trying to disrupt the economy, as well as “Gossip New Years Eve” rallies in the main popular places for revelers.
The Civic Front for Human Rights (CHRF), the main organizer of the giant rallies, is planning a large demonstration on Wednesday to demand a response to the protesters’ five requests, in particular an independent investigation into the police, amnesty for all arrested and free elections.
Police have arrested some 6,500 people since June, nearly a third of them under the age of 20.
Originally prompted by a project to authorize extraditions to mainland China, which has since been abandoned, the protest then widened to denounce the control exerted by Beijing.