At least five people were arrested after protesters occupied a portion of Nathan Road in Mong Kok on Sunday night.
They were arrested for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer during a clearing operation that began late Sunday night, police said in a statement issued at 3 a.m. on Monday.
The arrests came after hundreds of thousands of people marched from Tsim Sha Tsui to the West Kowloon terminus of the Express Rail Link on Sunday afternoon to protest against the now-suspended extradition bill.
Aside from the complete scrapping of the legislative proposal, the protesters want the government to cancel all the charges against the protesters, take back the categorization of the clashes in Admiralty on June 12 as a “riot”, establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the police use of force in the clashes, and immediately implement genuine universal suffrage.
Activist Ventus Lau Wing-hong, one of the initiators of the march, said the action was aimed at reiterating their demands and letting mainland tourists know what is happening in the city, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Lau said that although the government was trying to divide the anti-extradition bill protesters, the more-than-expected attendance in Sunday’s march showed such efforts would be in vain.
During the event, police arrested another person for failing to produce proof of identity.
After the initiators announced the end of the march at 7:30 p.m., some of the demonstrators remained outside the West Kowloon terminus, where officers set up a number of barricades to prevent them from storming the facility like what happened to the Legislative Council building on Monday last week.
The remaining protesters then gathered at the vicinity of Canton Road before they occupied the northbound lanes of Nathan Road at around 9 p.m., forcing police to set up a cordon at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street.
Hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, made repeated warnings to the protestors that they were participating in an unlawful assembly and urged them to leave or they would be dispersed.
The protesters stood their ground, with some questioning why they were performing their duties without wearing warrant cards as required under the police ordinance.
Critics have complained that police officers who figured in recent clashes with protesters did not display their warrant cards, identification numbers or their ranks on their uniforms, making it very difficult for members of the public to identify them.
It was not until around 11 p.m. that police began to disperse the crowd, resulting in scuffles.
Officers were seen hitting some protesters with their batons and pinning them to the ground. Dozens of protesters sustained injuries, with some having blood on their faces, RTHK reported.
Pan-democratic lawmakers Roy Kwong Chun-yu, Jeremy Tam Man-ho, and Au Nok-hin were at the scene asking police not to push too hard against the protesters.
Vehicular traffic on Nathan Road returned to normal at around 1:20 a.m. on Monday.
The police force said while it respects the right of the public to free expression and assembly, it condemns the protesters’ action of blocking the roads.
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