Flashmobs strike Hong Kong and protesters defy the mask ban

Flashmobs strike Hong Kong and protesters defy the mask ban

Flashmobs strike Hong Kong and umbrella-wielding protesters defy the mask ban as they smash up pro-Beijing businesses and barricade the streets

  • Flashmobs gathered at several locations across the financial hub, including two shopping malls on Sunday 
  • Holding umbrellas and wearing masks, in defiance of a recent ban, they blocked roads and smashed windows
  • Brief clashes with riot police were witnessed but the crowds were less violent compared to recent weeks 
  • Police made multiple arrests in the city where anti-Beijing demonstrations have drummed on for four months 

Flashmobs struck Hong Kong today and umbrella-wielding protesters defied the recent ban on masks while targeting pro-Beijing businesses and barricading the streets.

The demonstrators congregated Sunday in shopping malls in Sha Tin and Tseun Wan holding umbrellas and wearing masks in defiance of the government’s new sweep of restrictions on protests. 

Rallies erupted in multiple neighbourhoods with some protesters blocking roads, spraying graffiti on pro-China businesses, smashing windows and erecting barricades.

Police made multiple arrests as they rushed to intercept activists but the clashes were less heavy than earlier this month when the city was virtually shut down by the most intense unrest of the four month protest movement.

Riot police detain a protester at Tseun Wan shopping mall on Sunday as another wields an umbrella during pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong

Riot police hold down a demonstrator on Sunday inside the Tsuen Wan shopping mall as anti-Beijing demonstrators rallied at multiple locations in the financial hub

A flashmob strikes a mall in the Sha Tin district of the city on Sunday, in the fourth month of pro-democracy demonstrations

Heavily armoured riot police officers take down a demonstrator outside a shopping mall in the Tai Koo area of the financial hub

Barricades were set up in downtown Hong Kong once again this weekend as demonstrations rumbled into their four month

In the district of Mongkok, riot police burst from an unmarked van that had screeched up to a blockade made of bamboo scaffolding poles and quickly chased down multiple protesters who were pinned to the ground and detained.

In Tai Po district, officers charged into a mall where protesters had tagged a number of businesses with slogans with at least two arrests made.

Similar flashmobs and brief clashes were witnessed in at least three other locations with bystanders often heckling police as they made arrests.

Hong Kong has been shaken by four months of massive democracy protests which have seen increasingly violent clashes between hardcore demonstrators and police, as well as regular transport disruptions. 

The wave of protests in the international finance hub was sparked by opposition to a now-scrapped proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China, but has since morphed into a larger movement for democracy and police accountability.

The city enjoys unique rights under the terms of its handover to China by Britain in 1997, including freedom of expression and an independent judiciary, but many believe these are under threat from an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Shattered glass is strewn across a vandalised restaurant at the Sha Tin Plaza mall during an anti-government protests on Sunday

Protesters wearing masks and carrying umbrellas sprint through the streets of the city today

Hong Kong has been gripped by mass demonstrations since June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, which have since morphed into a wider anti-government movement (pictured: smashed windows at a mall in Sha Tin)

Protesters unfurl their umbrellas as they block roads in the Tai Po neighbourhood of the city on Sunday

Protesters force their way into a shop during demonstrations today – they went after some businesses perceived as being pro-China

A flashmob gathers around the galleries and within the lobby of a central mall while a colossal American flag is unfurled

Riot police go after a demonstrator in the Tai Koo area, close to one of the shopping malls, as they force him to the ground

Street battles between riot police and small groups of protesters have become a weekly occurrence, hammering the already struggling economy, spooking tourists and undermining Hong Kong’s reputation for stability.

The beginning of October saw a particularly fierce period of unrest with protesters upping their violence as Communist China celebrated its 70th birthday party.

Clashes further intensified after the city’s leader invoked colonial-era emergency laws to ban face masks at protests. 

Over the course of a week, protesters went on a vandalism spree, much of it targeting the city’s subway network and pro-China businesses. 

Riot police attempt to clear debris from the streets set up by demonstrators to act as barricade, despite multiple skirmishes the protests were less violent than in recent weeks

Protesters attack a surveillance camera during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong today

An anti-government protester sprays graffiti onto the wall at Wong Tai Sin district

Anti-government protesters hold placards and wave flags during a demonstration at New Town Plaza shopping mall in Hong Kong

Protesters stage a sit-in, many wearing masks, as they gather in New Town Plaza during anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong

People walk past graffiti on the entrance gate of the Sha Tin MTR underground station as people nearby attend a flash mob at the mall

Police also increased their response, firing tear gas and rubber bullets with renewed ferocity. Two teenagers were wounded with live rounds during clashes with police.

But the last few days have seen a comparatively calmer period.

Protesters are pushing for an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,500 people arrested and universal suffrage.

Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have repeatedly rejected those demands.

Young men with their faces covered, in contravention of a recent law, pull sections of the central reservation away to create a barricade

A protester with his face covered runs on a footbridge outside a mall during an anti-government protest in Hong Kong

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