As the number of coronavirus cases drops, Hong Kong’s protesters have returned to the streets — or rather, the shopping centers.
Following a 300-strong turnout at Cityplaza on Sunday, protesters have been staging regular “Sing With You” demonstrations at luxury malls in Central during lunch hours and after work.
At around 6pm yesterday evening, over a hundred people gathered in and around the atrium of IFC to sing the Hong Kong protest anthem, “Glory to Hong Kong”. Participants, who wore black clothes and masks, chanted common protest refrains like “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” and “Five demands, not one less” as shoppers looked on.
Over 100 riot police arrived just before 6:30pm, when the sing-along was scheduled to start, and cordoned off large sections of the mall. Officers announced over megaphones that those present were in violation of the anti-epidemic rule banning gatherings of more than four people.
HKFP reports that police issued HKD2,000 fixed penalty notices to two teenage boys and 70-year-old business tycoon Jerome Lau. Officers confiscated posters and other protest materials, and conducted stop-and-searches until about 9pm.
At around 1pm today, protesters regrouped in the atrium of the Landmark shopping center in Central for a “Lunch With You” event. Office workers looked on from higher floors and held candles as they sang “Glory to Hong Kong”. In between chants, organizers encouraged participants to continue observing social distancing rules by keeping to groups of four or less and wearing masks.
Just after 1:30pm, about 15 uniformed police officers entered the Landmark and began ordering participants to leave. Again, they claimed that protesters were violating the public gathering rules by congregating for “a common purpose”.
Protesters continued chanting over the police announcement, shouting “dirty cops” and “triads”. Speaking over a megaphone, Central and Western District Councillor Sam Yip ordered police officers to leave and said that the people present were “peacefully ordering takeout for lunch” and organizers were “spreading healthcare information”.
An Apple Daily live stream showed the police officers leaving the mall soon afterwards and patrolling outside as the protesters eventually dispersed on their own.