Hong Kong witnessed another huge anti-government march with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule.
Hong Kong police fired multiple volleys of tear gas on Sunday night to clear crowds of anti-government protesters who had taken over streets in the heart of the city following another mass rally.
Riot officers equipped with masks and shields swarmed towards protesters who fled in multiple directions after a tense standoff close to a ferry terminal on the main island, an AFP reporter on the scene said.
Earlier, masked protesters threw eggs at China’s office in Hong Kong following another massive rally, focusing anger towards the embodiment of Beijing’s rule with no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub.
TRT World spoke to Joel Flynn, who is at the scene.
The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters.
The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
But they have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.
Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while the parliament has been trashed by protesters as Beijing’s authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.
On Sunday, thousands gathered in sweltering heat in Hong Kong for the latest in a series of mass protests.
Rally organisers lost their appeal to have the march route end in Central district, close to the scene where police in June fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse activists in some of the most violent protests to rock the city in decades.
The protest comes a day after tens of thousands gathered to voice support for the police force, who some have accused of using excessive force against activists, and call for an end to the violence.
Last weekend, two initially peaceful protests degenerated into running skirmishes between baton-wielding police and activists, resulting in scores of injuries and more than 40 arrests.
Lam has apologised for the turmoil the extradition bill has caused and declared it "dead". Opponents of the bill, which would allow extradition to China and which they fear could be used to silence dissent, say nothing short of its full withdrawal will do.
Under the terms of the handover from Britain in 1997, Hong Kong was allowed to retain extensive freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a "one country, two systems" formula, including an independent judiciary and right to protest.
But for many Hong Kong residents, the extradition bill is the latest step in a relentless march toward mainland control.
The protests have at times paralysed parts of the financial district, shut government offices and disrupted business operations across the city. Officials have also warned about the impact of the unrest on the economy.
A commentary published in the Chinese Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper on Sunday said: "If violence continues, it will inevitably deal a greater blow to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability."
China has condemned the violent protests as an "undisguised challenge" to the one country, two systems formula.
Police late on Friday seized a cache of explosives and weapons in an industrial building in the New Territories district of Tsuen Wan. Three people were arrested in connection with the seizure, which police described as the largest ever of its kind in Hong Kong.
They said it was unclear if the explosives were related to the protest.
Government and police headquarters, which have been targeted by protesters in previous rallies, were barricaded by massive water barriers on Sunday, while media said 5,000 police were being deployed for the rally.
Several major roads were closed off and global bank HSBC , in a rare move, pulled down large metal barriers on the street level of its gleaming skyscraper building.