Thousands in Hong Kong, including many teachers, rallied in streets today in more anti-government rallies, marching past shops shuttered due to growing concern that police could adopt tougher tactics to drive activists from the streets.
Amid mounting violence throughout the past weeks, the rallies this weekend are seen as a key test of whether the protest movement can retain the broad support that it has appeared to have.
After gathering peacefully in the Central business district, the teachers marched on the Government House residence of Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam, chanting “Hong Kong police know the law, they break the law”.
“If Carrie bothered to respond to our demands at the very beginning, nobody would get hurt,” said Lee, a retired primary school teacher.
The protests began as opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill but have since grown to include broader demands, all about more democracy.
Demonstrators demand the resignation of Executive President Lam, who got, so far, all the support from motherland China.
“The government has been ignoring us for months. We have to keep demonstrating,” said CS Chan, a maths teacher at a rally of teachers which police said was attended by up to 8,300 people.
Yu, aged in her 40s and a music teacher at a local secondary school, told Reuters that she was determined to show support for protesting students, even though she didn’t agree with all their actions.
“I do appreciate their courage and caring about Hong Kong…they are definitely braver than our government,” she said.
The tenor of clashes has intensified in previous days, where thousands of flights were cancelled at the city’s airport, when protesters set upon men they suspected were Chinese agents.
Anti-government demonstrators also marched through Kowloon – the main built up area on the mainland side of Hong Kong harbour, while pro-police demonstrators turned out briefly on the other side of the bay, waving Chinese flags, Reuters reported.