Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong‘s brief respite from violence has come to an end, with police firing tear gas at demonstrators as the city’s protests enter their 12th weekend.
Thousands of protesters took to Kwun Tong district in the city’s east on Saturday, reiterating the five demands that have emerged during this pro-democracy movement, and adding an additional issue: the government’s installation of “smart” environmental monitoring lampposts, which have sparked privacy concerns. Tear gas is fired at protesters at a demonstration in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on August 24, 2019.Protesters attempted to tear down or dismantle the lampposts, while others gathered on the streets and formed barriers. Protesters have been seen with a slingshot, iron bars and bricks, while riot police fired back pepper spray and tear gas, making it the first time in 10 days since tear gas was fired.A protester fires a BB gun during clashes with police after a rally in Kwun Tong on Saturday.”Everyone is tired,” wrote chief executive Carrie Lam on her Facebook page today. “Can we sit down and talk about it?” She also pointed to social and economic frustrations, echoing some protestors’ complaints. “The public’s dissatisfaction may also be due to deep social contradictions in different areas such as politics, economy and people’s livelihood. While we are calling for a cessation of violence, we must also provide a way out for solving the deeper “dead knot” of society,” she wrote.Read MoreThe stand off brings an end to a week of relative calm in Hong Kong, which had seen numerous clashes between protesters and police since early summer. Last weekend, police fired no tear gas, and an estimated 1.7 million people braved the heavy rain and heat to march peacefully along Hong Kong’s streets.In an apparent effort to forestall planned protests, the city’s subway operator MTR said on Saturday that it was suspending services between seven subway stations in the protest area, to “ensure the safety of passengers and our staff.” On Friday night, MTR also announced it had been granted an interim injunction to restrain people who were acting unlawfully, willfully obstructing or interfering with the running of the station, damaging property, or using threatening or offensive language. Riot police gather near a protest in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on August 24, 2019.Police retreat after clashing with protesters after a rally in Kwun Tong in Hong Kong on Saturday. Hong Kong’s subway stations have been sites for multiple protests and confrontations this summer. Earlier this week, protesters piled debris into a barricade and staged a silent sit-in at Yuen Long subway station, to mark one month since a mob attacked protestors, bystanders and journalists in that station. Police have also been accused of firing tear gas within a subway station.Hong Kong has been protesting for almost three months. The demonstrations were initially sparked by a now-suspended bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to China, where there is a separate legal system. Since then, protesters’ demands have expanded to include an inquiry into alleged police brutality and universal suffrage in the city, which currently only has partial democracy.Police holding shields gather near a protest in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on August 24, 2019.Changing tacticsOver the course of Hong Kong’s summer of dissent, protestors have organized several large-scale marches, including some with estimated turn-outs of over 1 million. Protesters have tried a number of techniques, including storming the Legislative Council building and leading widespread strikes around the city. Protesters build barriers at a demonstration in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on August 24, 2019.A protester prepares to throw a metal pole during clashes after a rally in Kwun Tong on Saturday.On Friday, thousands of people stood in lines stretching around Hong Kong to form a human chain — a homage to the Baltic Way, which took place on the same date, 30 years ago. On August 23, 1989, millions of people in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed a 600km (372 miles) long human chain to demand independence from the Soviet Union. Hong Kong’s airport was expected to be targeted on Saturday morning for a second time this month, but plans to block transport going to and from the airport didn’t come to fruition. To forestall issues, Hong Kong’s Airport Authority had warned in a statement Friday that blocking roads connecting to the airport may constitute unlawfully obstructing the airport, meaning anyone who does so could be subject to imprisonment or a fine. It also placed ads in local papers Friday, encouraging young people to love and protect the airport.”We sincerely call for all young people who love Hong Kong in their heart not to participate in or support any action that disrupts the airport’s normal operation or damages the airport’s international image,” the ads read, adding that airport disruption could lead to the unemployment of around 100,000 people who depend on the airport to make a living. Photos: Hong Kong protestsPeople link hands as they gather at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong on Friday, August 23. Protesters formed a human chain across Hong Kong in a show of solidarity.Hide Caption 1 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters shine light from their cell phones as they form a human chain on top of the iconic Lion Rock at Wong Tai Sin.Hide Caption 2 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsThe human chain was planned to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the “Baltic Way,” a historically significant peaceful demonstration against Soviet occupation. On August 23, 1989, an estimated 2 million people formed a 600-kilometer (372-mile) human chain across the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.Hide Caption 3 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsCell phones shine from the top of Lion Rock on August 23.Hide Caption 4 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters take part in a march on Sunday, August 18.Hide Caption 5 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters march under umbrellas on August 18.Hide Caption 6 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsTens of thousands of protesters showed up in the streets on August 18.Hide Caption 7 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters take part in a rally in Victoria Park on August 18.Hide Caption 8 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester participates in a march on Saturday, August 17. His eye is covered with red gauze, referencing a woman who was allegedly shot in the eye with a beanbag round during clashes between protesters and police.Hide Caption 9 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester ties a white ribbon, symbolizing the pure intentions of young protesters, during a march organized by teachers in Hong Kong on August 17.Hide Caption 10 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters react after police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration at the Sham Shui Po police station in Hong Kong on Wednesday, August 14.Hide Caption 11 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsTear gas envelops demonstrators at Sham Shui Po.Hide Caption 12 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters point lasers at the Sham Shui Po police station on August 14.Hide Caption 13 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsTwo protesters hold up an apology sign at the Hong Kong International Airport, which resumed operations on August 14. For two days, protesters flooded the airport. Check-ins were suspended and dozens of outgoing flights were canceled.Hide Caption 14 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA police officer falls over an airport luggage trolley during a scuffle with pro-democracy protesters on Tuesday, August 13.Hide Caption 15 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA police officer draws his weapon during clashes at the airport on August 13.Hide Caption 16 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice use pepper spray to disperse protesters at the airport on August 13.Hide Caption 17 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice and protesters clash at the airport on August 13. The violence came after Hong Kong’s Airport Authority announced that all check-in services would be suspended for another night because of terminal operations being “seriously disrupted.”Hide Caption 18 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA traveler passes her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate.Hide Caption 19 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA display board shows canceled flights on August 13.Hide Caption 20 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsAnti-government protesters stand at a barricade made of luggage trolleys during a demonstration at the airport on August 13.Hide Caption 21 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA woman wearing Minnie Mouse headgear looks on as stranded travelers gather near closed check-in counters on August 13.Hide Caption 22 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters display banners during a sit-in rally at the airport’s arrival hall on Monday, August 12.Hide Caption 23 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPeople hold signs during airport protests on August 12. The signs reference the woman who was allegedly shot in the eye with a beanbag round during clashes between protesters and police.Hide Caption 24 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsMedics look after a woman who received a facial injury during clashes on Sunday, August 11.Hide Caption 25 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA pro-democracy protester is held by police outside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station on August 11.Hide Caption 26 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA “Lennon wall” featuring a raincoat is plastered with sticky notes on Saturday, August 10. Hide Caption 27 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice fire tear gas at protesters during a demonstration in the Wong Tai Sin District on Monday, August 5.Hide Caption 28 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA train passenger gestures toward a protester, right, who was preventing the doors of a train from closing on August 5. The protester was trying to disrupt Hong Kong’s morning rush-hour commute.Hide Caption 29 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA man lies down on an underground train during a protest on August 5.Hide Caption 30 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA man comforts his pregnant wife near a train platform after protesters blocked the train doors on August 5.Hide Caption 31 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester stands in tear gas during a confrontation with police in the early hours of Sunday, August 4.Hide Caption 32 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA Chinese flag floats in water after it was thrown by protesters during a demonstration on Saturday, August 3.Hide Caption 33 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester sprays paint on a wall on August 3.Hide Caption 34 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsMembers of Hong Kong’s medical sector attend a protest in Edinburgh Place on Friday, August 2.Hide Caption 35 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsThe emblem on the China Liaison Office is protected by plexiglass during a demonstration on Sunday, July 28.Hide Caption 36 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester flees from baton-wielding police in the Yuen Long district of Hong Kong on Saturday, July 27.Hide Caption 37 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester looks through umbrellas during the clashes with police on July 27.Hide Caption 38 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsTravelers watch as protesters rally at Hong Kong’s international airport on Friday, July 26.Hide Caption 39 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPeople paste Post-it notes on a demonstrator in the Hong Kong airport.Hide Caption 40 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters clash with police on Sunday, July 21.Hide Caption 41 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsMasked men in white T-shirts are seen after attacking anti-extradition bill demonstrators at a train station in Yuen Long.Hide Caption 42 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice fire tear gas at protesters during a march on July 21.Hide Caption 43 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsMedical workers help a protester affected by tear gas on July 21.Hide Caption 44 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsAn egg thrown by a protester hits the emblem on the China Liaison Office on July 21.Hide Caption 45 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsThe office of pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho was trashed by protesters in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan district.Hide Caption 46 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester covers a security camera outside the Chinese government’s liaison office in Hong Kong.Hide Caption 47 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters gather for a demonstration on July 21.Hide Caption 48 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice officers use pepper spray to disperse protesters after a rally in the Sheung Shui district on Saturday, July 13. Hide Caption 49 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA demonstrator sprays paint inside a chamber at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building, where protesters forced their way in on Monday, July 1.Hide Caption 50 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsThe meeting hall of the Legislative Council is taken over by demonstrators on July 1.Hide Caption 51 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester uses a megaphone to speak to other protesters inside the Legislative Council building.Hide Caption 52 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters stream into the Legislative Council building.Hide Caption 53 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester smashes a window of the Legislative Council building.Hide Caption 54 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters holding umbrellas face off with police officers wearing anti-riot gear on July 1.Hide Caption 55 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice standing inside the Hong Kong government headquarters look through broken glass as protesters try to smash their way into the building on July 1.Hide Caption 56 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsColumns of sunlight are cast on a crowd during the march on July 1.Hide Caption 57 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsHelicopters carrying the flags of China and Hong Kong fly over demonstrators on July 1.Hide Caption 58 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPro-democracy lawmaker Roy Kwong rallies demonstrators with a megaphone on July 1.Hide Caption 59 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester holds up a placard as thousands flood the streets of Hong Kong on July 1.Hide Caption 60 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA police officer uses pepper spray during a clash with protesters on July 1.Hide Caption 61 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters face police on July 1.Hide Caption 62 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters remove their shirts after being pepper-sprayed by police.Hide Caption 63 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester wearing a T-shirt with the word “revolution” walks past an inscription on a road that reads “Long Live HK.”Hide Caption 64 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice detain protesters near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1.Hide Caption 65 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsAn overhead view shows thousands of protesters marching through a Hong Kong street on Sunday, June 16.Hide Caption 66 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester returns a tear-gas canister fired by police during clashes outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Wednesday, June 12.Hide Caption 67 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsRubber bullets, pepper spray and hand-thrown tear gas were used to push back protesters who had occupied the city’s main thoroughfare and other roads near the government headquarters on June 12, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Steven Lo Wai-chung said.Hide Caption 68 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters run after police fired tear gas on June 12.Hide Caption 69 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA police officer reacts to an umbrella that was thrown near the Legislative Council building on June 12.Hide Caption 70 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice officers use a water cannon on a protester near the government headquarters.Hide Caption 71 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester reacts as she is grabbed by police on June 12.Hide Caption 72 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters face off with police during the rally on June 12.Hide Caption 73 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA protester rests during the demonstration on June 12. Protesters began arriving the night before.Hide Caption 74 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsBy the morning of June 12, tens of thousands of mainly young people had arrived in the area, blocking streets and bringing central Hong Kong to a standstill.Hide Caption 75 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters block major roads near the Legislative Council and government headquarters. Hundreds of businesses, parents and teachers called for a boycott of work and school to show their opposition to the extradition bill.Hide Caption 76 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA demonstrator holds a sign during the June 12 rally.Hide Caption 77 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsPolice officers charge toward protesters during clashes on Monday, June 10. It was a continuation of protests that started the day before.Hide Caption 78 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA police camera films the rally on Sunday, June 9.Hide Caption 79 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters hold pictures of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on June 9.Hide Caption 80 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsProtesters on June 9 waved placards and wore white — the designated color of the rally. “Hong Kong, never give up!” some chanted.Hide Caption 81 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsA crowd fills a Hong Kong street on June 9.Hide Caption 82 of 83 Photos: Hong Kong protestsStudents wear chains during a demonstration on Saturday, June 8.Hide Caption 83 of 83Peaceful lullAlthough Hong Kong has seen a week of peaceful calm, that hasn’t always been the case.On Friday, Hong Kong police said there were elements of the protest movement that were “not peaceful.” Three to four senior police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said officers’ personal information was being shared in an anti-police group with over 100,000 members on encrypted app Telegram.Media, protesters and police at a demonstration in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, on August 24, 2019.They called the tactic “a kind of psychological war,” and said they had arrested 16 people on suspicion of disclosing personal data without consent and causing harm, and unauthorized access to a computer.They also defended the force’s use of plain-clothes policemen, saying they were being used to target some “radical violent elements.”But at Friday’s human chain, many protesters insisted that the movement was peaceful, and rejected police’s depiction of them as violent. JUST WATCHEDHong Kong’s weekend of peaceful protestsReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH
Hong Kong’s weekend of peaceful protests 02:56″(The government) are saying we aren’t peaceful protesters, they just make up a story. Some people really believe that. They try to attack us. Sometimes it’s devastating,” said Felix Wong, 33, who began to cry as she explained how upset she was by the government’s stance.”I know a lot of people just like me, we see the news and read some articles, we just break into tears easily these two to three months,” she said.The wider pictureBeyond the battles between police and protesters, there has also been concern for how the ongoing protests are affecting the city’s economy.Hong Kong’s economy grew by just 0.6% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, the weakest quarterly figure in a decade. On Thursday, global banks in Hong Kong placed advertisements in several local newspapers, calling for a peaceful resolution to the standoff between the city’s government and pro-democracy protesters. Hong Kong protest timeline: The evolution of a movement Last week, Hong Kong’s property billionaires and the city’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, affirmed their support for the government and called for calm in the streets.There are also concerns about China’s response to the protests. Also on Saturday, a 28-year-old Hong Konger was released after being held in administrative detention by China for 15 days, on unclear charges. His detention had come amid reports Chinese immigration officials are regularly searching travelers’ phones and bags as they cross the border for evidence they have taken part in protests.The Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong has suspended all work travel to mainland China for local staff. A government source who was close to the decision-making said they believed the move to be a prudent precaution at this time.No sign of endingFor now, there’s no sign that the protests are ending. Carmen, a 38-year-old lawyer at Friday’s protests, described herself as a “recent convert” to the movement — she was pro-establishment before she joined the protests for the first time this month, inspired by the passion she was seeing among the city’s young people. She wore a surgical face mask to protect her identity, and would not give her full name for fear of retribution from the police.Fellow protester Spencer, a 33-year-old hotel worker who was also wearing a face mask and would not give his full name for the same reason, said he hoped the protests would end with city leader Carrie Lam responding to the protesters’ demands.”Why is she making us come out every day, every night, every weekend — we have no normal Sundays anymore because of these events,” he said. “But we have to come out and stand for ourselves, or else we are going to lose our home.”