Hong Kong protesters return to city streets to keep pressure on government and show support for radicals at Polytechnic University

Chan Ho-him

Protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday, continuing their regular lunchtime rallies and vowing to make their voices heard even after the pan-democrats’ landslide victory in the district council elections two days before.

In Central, more than 100 protesters gathered at an atrium in the IFC Mall at 12.45pm, chanting political slogans and expressing support for those radicals still hiding inside Polytechnic University, where protesters and police clashed 10 days ago.

Across Victoria Harbour in Kowloon Bay, more than 200 people occupied the crossroads between Sheung Yuet Road and Wang Chiu Road, bringing traffic to a halt for 20 minutes.

When riot police holding batons, shields and crowd-control guns arrived at 1.45pm, the crowd rushed back onto the pavement and some went into shops. The blue flag was raised to tell people they were taking part in an illegal assembly.

Riot police raise the blue flag as they proceed towards protesters in Kowloon Bay. Photo: Nora Tam

Traffic resumed soon afterward and police stayed at the junction while protesters watched from the pavement. Some of the protesters said they were satisfied with Sunday’s election results, but would not stop coming out.

A white-collar worker in Central sounded a more cautious note. The 50-year-old, surnamed Lau, described an overwhelming win for the pro-democracy camp in the district council elections as eating “buns steamed with human blood” – meaning the victory was based on bloodshed.

She said she hoped the government could “sincerely reflect” on the results, and respond to the protesters’ five demands, which included a commission of inquiry into police use of force, and universal suffrage.

“Some have died and so many people have been arrested,” she said. “Casting my own vote is the only thing I can do to voice out for those who have made sacrifices.”

She said she hoped newly elected district councillors would take concrete action, such as stopping “white elephant” construction projects, and pass on voters’ wishes to the district councils and the government.

The historic district council polls have dramatically changed the political landscape in the city. The opposition pro-democracy camp won 392 out of 452 seats, while their humiliated pro-establishment rivals had to settle for the remaining 60.

Other protesters were concerned about the events at PolyU, where a 50-strong group made up of faculty management, security guards, councillors and doctors entered the campus in Hung Hom on Tuesday morning to look for anyone who might still be in hiding.

The city’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, said a police team was standing by but would be called on only if the university group failed to convince the remaining hard-core protesters to leave the campus.

Ms Li, a consultant in her 20s who turned up in Central, said she believed police should retreat from PolyU and allow those inside to leave. She also said the government should listen to the protesters’ five demands, which, she said, were the cause of the PolyU confrontation.

What’s next for protesters after high of pan-dems’ elections victory?

“The government should not just find a resolution to handle the incident at PolyU, they should also find a way to resolve the causes of the protests once and for all,” she said.

In Kowloon Bay, some protesters put a loaf of Life Bread, a local brand, on the railings to protest against an officer’s remark to PolyU radicals.

Last week, an officer was heard using the product as an example of why hard-core protesters should surrender.

“You have nothing but Life Bread to eat inside, while we can go to Shenzhen to enjoy hotpot and iced beer after work!” he said through a loudspeaker.

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