Hong Kong Sees Biggest Protests Since Pro-Democracy Movement’s Election Boost

A proester holds a banner as he attends a Human Rights Day march, organised by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong, China December 8, 2019. Picture taken with a long exposure. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Vast crowds of black-clad demonstrators thronged Hong Kong on Sunday in the largest anti-government protests since local elections last month that boosted the pro-democracy movement seeking to curb controls by China.

It was the first time since August that the Civil Human Rights Front – organizer of million-strong marches earlier in the year that paralyzed the Asian finance center – had received authorities’ permission for a rally.

It estimated turnout of 800,000 while police said 183,000.

Chants of “Fight for freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!” echoed as demonstrators, from students to professionals and the elderly, marched from Victoria Park in the bustling shopping district toward the financial area.

As dark fell, some protesters spray-painted anti-Beijing graffiti on a Bank of China building. Riot police stood on guard, restrained as protesters yelled “dogs” and “cockroaches.”