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Thousands take to Hong Kong’s streets for rally marking six months of protests


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Thousands of demonstrators crammed into Hong Kong’s streets in a mass show of support for the pro-democracy protest movement entering its seventh month.

The sea of protesters, chanting ‘fight for freedom’ and ‘stand with Hong Kong,’ formed a huge human snake winding for blocks from the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Central business zone, a distance of more than a miles.

It was one of the biggest rallies in months and a remarkably peaceful one.

Thousands of demonstrators crammed into Hong Kong’s streets in a mass show of support for the pro-democracy protest movement entering its seventh month

A protester dressed as Captain America attends the march, organised by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong

A protester dressed as Captain America attends the march, organised by the Civil Human Right Front, in Hong Kong

Chanting ‘fight for freedom’ and ‘stand with Hong Kong,’ the sea of protesters formed a huge human snake winding for blocks from the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Central business zone, a distance of more than a miles

It was one of the biggest rallies in months and a remarkably peaceful one. Pictured: A protester holds up a yellow jacket with the words 'fight against tyranny we are not alone'

It was one of the biggest rallies in months and a remarkably peaceful one. Pictured: A protester holds up a yellow jacket with the words ‘fight against tyranny we are not alone’

Crowds were so large and dense that the march ground to a standstill at times. Protesters spilled into narrow side streets, crying: 'Revolution in our times.' Pictured: A statue plastered with protest posters

Crowds were so large and dense that the march ground to a standstill at times. Protesters spilled into narrow side streets, crying: ‘Revolution in our times.’ Pictured: A statue plastered with protest posters

Organizers said 800,000 people participated, while police had no immediate estimate. Pictured: People take picture of the vandalized Bank of China lion statues

Organizers said 800,000 people participated, while police had no immediate estimate. Pictured: People take picture of the vandalized Bank of China lion statues

Crowds were so large and dense that the march ground to a standstill at times. Protesters spilled into narrow side streets, crying: ‘Revolution in our times.’ 

Organizers said 800,000 people participated, while police had no immediate estimate. 

Almost hidden among the throngs of demonstrators was one woman who crawled on hands and knees on the rough road surface – an apt metaphor for the arduous path traveled by Hong Kong’s protest movement in the past six months.

Many marchers held up five fingers to press the movement's five demands. Pictured: The vandalized Bank of China lion statues

Many marchers held up five fingers to press the movement’s five demands. Pictured: The vandalized Bank of China lion statues 

The unrest was sparked by a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts. Pictured: Umbrellas are lined up on a street

The unrest was sparked by a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts. Pictured: Umbrellas are lined up on a street

The extradition bill, the protesters' first demand, is now withdrawn. Pictured: A defaced advertisement that reads 'free HK'

The extradition bill, the protesters’ first demand, is now withdrawn. Pictured: A defaced advertisement that reads ‘free HK’

Dragging bricks and empty soda cans on pieces of string behind her, the young woman elicited shouts of encouragement from fellow protesters.

‘Her performance art is about the difficulty, or the repetitiveness, of demonstrations,’ said one of her friends, who walked alongside and identified herself by her surname, Chan. ‘This is really a long-term struggle.’ 

Many marchers held up five fingers to press the movement’s five demands.

The unrest was sparked by a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

Although the extradition bill, the protesters’ first demand, is now withdrawn the demonstrators’ four other demands are: Retraction of the word ‘riot’ to describe rallies, release of all detained demonstrators, an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality and the right for Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders.

The protesters' four other demands are: Retraction of the word 'riot' to describe rallies, release of all detained demonstrators, an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality and the right for Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders

The protesters’ four other demands are: Retraction of the word ‘riot’ to describe rallies, release of all detained demonstrators, an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality and the right for Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders

Marchers said they hoped the huge turnout today might help win concessions from the government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Marchers said they hoped the huge turnout today might help win concessions from the government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Protesters spanned generations. One man's young son marched in his Spiderman suit. Pictured: Umbrellas have previously been used by protesters to shield their faces from street surveillance cameras

Protesters spanned generations. One man’s young son marched in his Spiderman suit. Pictured: Umbrellas have previously been used by protesters to shield their faces from street surveillance cameras

Marchers said they hoped the huge turnout today might help win concessions from the government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. 

Protesters spanned generations. One man’s young son marched in his Spiderman suit.

‘So many people are still supporting this movement. You can see how determined Hong Kong people are,’ said demonstrator Justin Ng, a 20-year-old student.

'So many people are still supporting this movement. You can see how determined Hong Kong people are,' said demonstrator Justin Ng, a 20-year-old student. Pictured: A masked protester

‘So many people are still supporting this movement. You can see how determined Hong Kong people are,’ said demonstrator Justin Ng, a 20-year-old student. Pictured: A masked protester

Marchers said protesting has become part of the fabric of their lives since mass demonstrations erupted in June. Pictured: Police stand guard

Marchers said protesting has become part of the fabric of their lives since mass demonstrations erupted in June. Pictured: Police stand guard

‘I heard a small kid yelling slogans – four, five years old,’ Ng said. ‘That really encouraged me because it’s not just this generation but future generations, too.’

Marchers said protesting has become part of the fabric of their lives since mass demonstrations erupted in June.

The protests have since snowballed into a broad anti-government campaign, presenting the communist leadership in Beijing with a major headache and battering Hong Kong’s economy.

Police in riot gear deployed in numbers on the edges of the march. Pictured: Police watch on as the demonstrators march

Police in riot gear deployed in numbers on the edges of the march. Pictured: Police watch on as the demonstrators march

The protests have since snowballed into a broad anti-government campaign, presenting the communist leadership in Beijing with a major headache and battering Hong Kong's economy

The protests have since snowballed into a broad anti-government campaign, presenting the communist leadership in Beijing with a major headache and battering Hong Kong’s economy

Police in riot gear deployed in numbers on the edges of the march. 

Earlier in the day, they arrested 11 people and seized a cache of weapons, including a firearm with more than 100 bullets. Police said the suspects apparently planned to use the weapons during the protest to frame police, who have been accused of using excessive force against the protesters.

Violence was limited, with a bank vandalized and police reporting that gasoline bombs were thrown outside Hong Kong’s High Court.

Earlier in the day, police arrested 11 people and seized a cache of weapons, including a firearm with more than 100 bullets. Pictured: Protesters during the march

Earlier in the day, police arrested 11 people and seized a cache of weapons, including a firearm with more than 100 bullets. Pictured: Protesters during the march

Police said the suspects apparently planned to use the seized weapons during the protest to frame police, who have been accused of using excessive force against the protesters. Pictured: Protester wearing a mask

Police said the suspects apparently planned to use the seized weapons during the protest to frame police, who have been accused of using excessive force against the protesters. Pictured: Protester wearing a mask

Violence was limited in today's protest, but a bank was vandalized. Pictured: Protesters peacefully march during today's demonstrations

Violence was limited in today’s protest, but a bank was vandalized. Pictured: Protesters peacefully march during today’s demonstrations

Rally organizer Eric Lai had called for police restraint and for no use of tear gas. Pictured: Protesters march

Rally organizer Eric Lai had called for police restraint and for no use of tear gas. Pictured: Protesters march

Protesters wearing face masks and hats, helping to conceal their identities, march on the streets of Hong Kong. A flag is waved that reads 'free Hong Kong, revolution now'

Protesters wearing face masks and hats, helping to conceal their identities, march on the streets of Hong Kong. A flag is waved that reads ‘free Hong Kong, revolution now’

Rally organizer Eric Lai said: 'We hope this will be a signature for our movement after six months to show to Carrie Lam as well as to the world that people are not giving up. People will still fight for our freedom and democracy'

Rally organizer Eric Lai said: ‘We hope this will be a signature for our movement after six months to show to Carrie Lam as well as to the world that people are not giving up. People will still fight for our freedom and democracy’

Authorities have liberally used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets at previous demonstrations. Pictured: Protesters today

Authorities have liberally used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets at previous demonstrations. Pictured: Protesters today

Authorities say force has been necessary to disperse hard-core protesters who have previously battled riot officers, vandalized shops and thrown gasoline bombs. Pictured: The march today

Authorities say force has been necessary to disperse hard-core protesters who have previously battled riot officers, vandalized shops and thrown gasoline bombs. Pictured: The march today

Rally organizer Eric Lai had called for police restraint and for no use of tear gas.

Lai said: ‘We hope this will be a signature for our movement after six months to show to Carrie Lam as well as to the world that people are not giving up. People will still fight for our freedom and democracy.’

Authorities, who have liberally used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets at previous demonstrations, say force has been necessary to disperse hard-core protesters who have battled riot officers, vandalized shops and thrown gasoline bombs. 

Police banned mass marches as protests turned increasingly violent, but relented and allowed Sunday's march after a few weeks of relative peace

Police banned mass marches as protests turned increasingly violent, but relented and allowed Sunday’s march after a few weeks of relative peace

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9 against the extradition bill

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9 against the extradition bill

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9 against the extradition bill

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9 against the extradition bill

Police banned mass marches as protests turned increasingly violent, but relented and allowed Sunday’s march after a few weeks of relative peace.

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9 against the extradition bill.

Chief among the protesters’ complaints on Sunday was that police have been overly heavy-handed, making thousands of arrests since June.

‘They are out of control,’ said Ernest Yau, a 28-year-old consultant. He said the movement has brought Hong Kong together.

‘We understand our common enemy,’ he said. ‘We understand that we have to be united to fight against China, to fight against a government that doesn’t listen to its people.’

Chief among the protesters' complaints Sunday was that police have been overly heavy-handed, making thousands of arrests since June

Chief among the protesters’ complaints Sunday was that police have been overly heavy-handed, making thousands of arrests since June

'[The police] are out of control,' said Ernest Yau, a 28-year-old consultant. He said the movement has brought Hong Kong together. Pictured: A protester waves a flag that reads: 'Free Hong Kong - revolution now'

‘[The police] are out of control,’ said Ernest Yau, a 28-year-old consultant. He said the movement has brought Hong Kong together. Pictured: A protester waves a flag that reads: ‘Free Hong Kong – revolution now’

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