Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Oct. 20, defying a ban on demonstrations and clashing with police who fired tear gas and water cannon.
Thousands of protesters, many carrying umbrellas, marched peacefully through Hong Kong’s Kowloon streets, some defying a government ban on face masks at such gatherings.
But tensions later escalated, as protesters gathered outside Tsim Sha Tsui’s police station, where officers fired tear gas onto the crowd below, and protesters responded with petrol bombs, video footage showed.
Hardcore protesters set up roadblocks in the nearby shopping district and sprayed graffiti saying: “We choose to die on our feet than live on our knees!”
Hardcore protesters vandalized businesses and banks linked to China during the protests, fueling fears that the territory’s months-long crisis is far from over.
Mosque hit by blue dye
A police water cannon filled with stinging blue dye blasted protesters along a major street in Kowloon, sending them running. It also hit a small group of volunteers, journalists and peaceful protesters standing outside Hong Kong’s largest mosque, staining the entrance and the steps.
— Occasusphagein (@mensch_huis) October 20, 2019
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam briefly visited Kowloon Mosque on Oct. 21, surrounded by security guards, but declined to speak with media.
Mosque officials said she had apologized for the incident, after police said in a statement that the mosque was hit by accident.
Mosque officials also thanked worshippers and Hong Kong residents who flocked to the mosque to help clean off the blue dye soon after the incident. The dye is seen as a way to mark protesters.
Hong Kong has been gripped by protests for months over concerns of China’s tightening control over the city.
Protests started in June over a now abandoned bill allowing extradition from Hong Kong to the mainland. But they have now grown into calls for more democracy and equality for the territory.
Beijing has accused foreign governments of fueling the protests and warned against any attempt to split from China.