As thousands take to Hong Kong’s streets in annual democracy march, tense scenes outside LegCo

Broken windows outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building are examined, while a crowd of protesters remains gathered outside its front doors. Stuart White / Coconuts Hong Kong
Broken windows outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building are examined, while a crowd of protesters remains gathered outside its front doors. Stuart White / Coconuts Hong Kong

With thousands of protesters now marching from Causeway Bay, a parallel protest at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building, one that began with early morning fireworks between police and demonstrators, remains the site of a tense standoff.

While protesters are currently backing away from the front doors of the city’s parliament, within the past hour or so, a small group had repeatedly rammed them with a large metal cart, as a large contingent of police in riot gear waited inside. A New York Times video of that can be seen here.

A number of pro-democratic lawmakers attempted to intercede, pleading with police inside to allow them to calm the protesters, something they attempted with little efficacy.

Indeed, at one point, a lawmaker who stepped between the protesters and pleaded with them to stop their attempts to break through the door was tackled out of the way by a man wearing a mask.

Aware of the tense standoff at LegCo, march organizers the Civil Human Rights Front, meanwhile, have called an audible, asking marchers to avoid the government offices altogether and end their route at Chater Road. They added that those who wish to head toward the legislative building should be prepared to look after their own safety.

Early this morning, clashes between protesters and police had seen police employ pepper spray.

A bit later, at ceremonies celebrating Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China, Carrie Lam once again pledged to “learn the lesson” of recent protests driven by antipathy to controversial extradition legislation with the mainland, saying she would meet more with opposition parties and “young people of different backgrounds.”

Once again, however, she failed to offer any give on the key points driving protesters, who are demanding the bill’s official withdrawal and the release of protesters arrested in recent weeks.

Events on the ground will likely continue to change quickly. You can follow the Coconuts Hong Kong team on Twitter @CoconutsHK.

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