Despite Coronavirus, Hong Kong Protesters Rally Against China

Despite Coronavirus, Hong Kong Protesters Rally Against China

HONG KONG — Thousands of protesters swarmed some of Hong Kong’s busiest neighborhoods on Sunday, singing, chanting and erecting roadblocks of torn-up bricks and debris, as the police repeatedly fired tear gas, pepper spray and a water cannon during the city’s largest street mobilization in months.

Protesters also reportedly beat a lawyer who had expressed pro-establishment views; they also smashed the glass of at least one storefront. Some protesters piled umbrellas, wooden boards and overturned trash cans to barricade streets, and a few threw objects at police vehicles.

Groups of police officers pinned protesters to the ground and conducted random searches on passers-by.

Still, the clashes were relatively restrained, compared to violent clashes that marked the later months of protests last year.

The march on Sunday was planned before Beijing announced its national security plans on Thursday. It was originally intended to oppose a separate bill, in Hong Kong’s Legislature, to criminalize disrespect of the Chinese national anthem. Antigovernment groups see that proposal as yet another indication of the mainland’s encroachment on Hong Kong.

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