Protesters in the massive pro-democracy march on Tuesday broke through police barricades in a bid to ease congestion, raising tensions during the annual event marking the handover of sovereignty in the former British colony, am730 reported on Wednesday.
It took many demonstrators as long as four hours to leave the starting point of the march at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, as many others joined the line from different points all the way to the Central business district, the report said.
As police blocked the eastward carriageway, many impatient demonstrators, who had been stuck for several hours, confronted the police in front of the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay. Some tried to break through barricades, heightening the tense situation aggravated by the heat and sudden downpour.
Police blamed the congestion on the march organizers who deliberately slowed down the progress and ignored repeated pleas for the protesters to keep moving.
A senior police officer said portions of the road had to be blocked from the crowds as they were needed for prompt response to emergencies, the report said.
Larry Kwok, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Council, said although congestion could have been eased by opening more vehicle lines, the decision was subject to the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions as well as judgment of police officers on site.
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