Tens of thousands of people still paraded Sunday, August 18 in Hong Kong during a demonstration "peaceful" to prove that the pro-democracy movement remains popular despite the violence and threats of intervention of Beijing. The organizers of the event seem to have succeeded.
The image of the mobilization, which began in June and is unprecedented in the former British colony, was tarnished this week by scenes of violence after five days of sit-in at the airport. To put a stop to the accusations of " terrorism " that emanated from the Chinese central government, a call for a " rational and non-violent " rally on Sunday was launched by the Civilian Front for Human Rights (FCHR), an organization that non-violent which was at the origin of the giant demonstrations of June and July.
In the early afternoon, tens of thousands of people first massed in the pouring rain in Victoria Park, in the heart of Hong Kong Island, offering aerial images of a sea of multicolored umbrellas . Difficult to establish a precise count but organizers advance the figure of 1.7 million people gathered in the rain.
A tide of pro-democracy protesters floods the streets of Hong Kong to show city leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support despite growing violence and threats of intervention from Beijing #AFP pic.twitter.com/1O1YHDd70eAgence France-Presse (@afpfr) August 18, 2019
A crowd of protesters then marched to Admiralty District further west, defying the police ban that allowed only a static gathering in the park. In the early evening, there were still thousands in the streets walking in the quiet, while the rain continued to fall intermittently. Many militants still had the slogan of denouncing police violence.
" The police are wounded "
" The way the police handled all this is totally out of place, " said James Leung, a protester. " You can make your own judgment . Others recognized an increase in violence in the ranks of the protesters, the demonstrations degenerating more and more into clashes between the police and radicals no longer hesitate to throw stones or molotov cocktails, and to use slingshots. .
Since the beginning of the demonstrations, they have arrested so many young people. If the head of the government had immediately withdrawn the law on extraditions, none of this would have happened. We are also trying to save our youth. It's very sad to see them fighting for us. I'm just walking to show my support. But I'm happy to see everyone. We must be a million in the park!
Ellaine, 54, could not access Victoria Park already crowded before the start of the event 18/08/2019 - by Aabla Jounaïdi Play
" Some people have an extreme way of expressing their views, " says thirty-five-year-old Ray Cheng, acknowledging that this puts mobilization in a delicate position. " I am against violence, " said a woman said to be called Wong, 54 years. " But they are angry. And even the radicals only break windows, they do not hurt people, while the police are wounded, "she accuses showing a photo of a woman hit by a projectile, probably fired by the police.
Ten weeks after the inaugural event on June 9 , the movement received almost nothing from Hong Kong's pro-Beijing executive. This lack of progress has pushed the movement towards radicalization, as illustrated this week by the blocking of the Hong Kong airport , where hundreds of flights have been canceled.