Today’s major Civil Human Rights Front-backed march got off to a peaceful this afternoon as tens of thousands gathered at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
The march, intended to tie in with world Human Rights Day on Tuesday, was the first police have allowed the CHRF to organize since August as the city’s long-running protest movement has escalated in intensity.
The CHRF is the organization responsible for organizing some of the largest peaceful rallies in Hong Kong’s history, including the two massive demonstrations that kicked off the anti-extradition bill protest movement in earnest back in June. While today’s crowds were unquestionably large, they didn’t appear at first glance to be gigantic as past turnouts.
Today’s rally, however, has so far matched those rallies in tone, with protesters peacefully marching through Causeway Bay from nearby Victoria Park chanting slogans as a helicopter hovered overhead and riot police stood idle a short distance away.
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In addition to the typical slogans associated with the pro-democracy movement — such as “Five demands, not one less” — protesters today could also be heard chanting “Stand with Uyghurs,” a reference to the mainland’s mass detention of the Turkic ethnic minority in Xinjiang province.
Today’s march is expected to terminate at Chater Road in Central.
While things have so far been peaceful, past peaceful have had a tendency to end in violent clashes as night sets and more moderate participants return home.
Reporting by Stuart White and Vicky Wong.