Hongkongers marched to oppose national security law, met with tear gas and water cannon

The announcement of the National Security Law has ignited a new sense of urgency amongst pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, evident on Sunday as thousands took to the streets.

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Thousands took to the streets Sunday to protest against Beijing’s proposed national security law that could undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and civil liberties. Scenes of clashes came into sight again as police deployed tear gas, water cannons, and pepper spray to crack down the largest protest since the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Crowds gathered at the SOGO department store in Causeway Bay, the city’s busy retail district, and marched toward Wan Chai Southern playground at around 1PM, despite the absence of police approval and the current social-distancing order that forbids groups of more than eight. 

Police fired tear gas half an hour after the march began at the crossroads Hennessy Road and Percival Street. At around 3PM, a water cannon was fired on Canal Road, accompanied by a police truck with an officer on the top, holding a rubber bullet gun. 

One of the “UV9” holds up five fingers to the window, signifying the “5 demands”.

The march turned to a “run-and chase” between police and protestors for the next several hours. At 8PM, masses were still assembled under Canal Road Bridge to sing “Glory to Hong Kong”

Protesters chanted “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, the familiar slogan used during the almost 12-month anti-government protests, as well as “Hong Kong Independence, the only way out” – which could be illegal under the national security law that targets subversion, treason, and terrorism.  

Nine protesters were loaded onto a bus with license plate UV5237; one held up fingers of “1” and “5”, and another held up his palm of five fingers to cameras, despite the fact that their hands allegedly had been tied behind their backs. 

At least 180 were arrested for mostly participating in an unauthorised and unlawful assembly, announced by the police force. They also said protestors assaulted 41-year-old lawyer Chan Tze-chin, a member of the Law Society, and a woman relating built-up barricades. 

The second reading of another controversial law, the National Anthem Bill, which criminalises insults of March of the Volunteers, will be carried out in the legislature on Wednesday. Expecting a rally near the area tomorrow, police have set up barricades.

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the author

Sara is a journalism student at Hong Kong Baptist University. Her one-year exchange journey at Emerson College in the United States and high school experience at UWC Robert Bosch College in Germany have cultivated her interests in politics and social injustices.