Protesters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2020. - Shihomi Kadoya / AP / SIPA

The ban on rallies in the fight against the new coronavirus would not have been right for the pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong. Several thousand residents took to the streets on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the clashes with the police.

"Glory to Hong Kong"

To show that they are still in control, riot police said they arrested a total of 35 people during the evening. In front of her, thousands of people answered online calls to gather at 8 p.m. on avenues and the surrounding area, to chant pro-democracy slogans and to sing "Glory in Hong Kong", a protest song that has become immensely popular. Friday, a hundred students formed a human chain in front of a school whose teacher had been dismissed because she had authorized a candidate to play this hymn in a music exam.

Television footage showed rallies in several districts. "I came here because our goals were not met, I have to keep coming," 28-year-old social worker in Causeway Bay, a shopping district where hundreds of people gathered, told So. "We want to tell the government that we will not give up," he said. In Kwun Tong district, images showed a man with a knife being held by demonstrators and then by the police.

A foreign plot for China

The protest movement started on June 9, 2019 when a huge crowd demonstrated against a bill to authorize extraditions in mainland China. Three days later, violent clashes broke out between the demonstrators and the riot police who had used tear gas. Scenes that had become weekly, sometimes daily, during the seven months of mobilization that followed, the demonstrators denouncing Beijing's interference in the affairs of this semi-autonomous territory.

Protesters are now demanding an investigation into police brutality, an amnesty for the approximately 9,000 people arrested during the protests, and universal suffrage. China refused, describing the protests as a foreign plot to destabilize it.


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