Hong Kong, Aug 31 (IANS) Hong Kong faces its 13th straight weekend of civil unrest after thousands of protesters defied a police ban and took to the streets on Saturday, with a Christian rally morphing into a procession and authorities shutting down recreational facilities and an MTR station.
On Friday, the police launched a crackdown by arresting prominent pro-democracy activists and at least three lawmakers for their alleged involvement in demonstrations sparked by the now-shelved extradition bill, the South China Morning Post reported.
Defiant protesters have said they would demonstrate regardless of police refusing permission for a mass march and rally by the Civil Human Rights Front, which has called off the events.
The Front is behind the biggest marches held in Hong Kong since the eruption of the political crisis in early June, sparked by the now-abandoned extradition bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent back to mainland China.
The police have said that they would enforce the law.
Hundreds of protesters earlier attempted to march to the Government House, the official residence of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, after stopping at the police headquarters in Wan Chai following the Christian rally in Southorn Playground.
But with riot police holding their line, they turned back.
Angry members of the crowd heckled officers, calling them “dirty cops”, but did not engage in further action.
Defiant protesters chanted slogans despite rains. Among the crowd were middle-aged people, the elderly and young men and women in black.
Following his arrest on Friday, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said he will be “shopping” around Hong Kong Island on Saturday, and called for protesters to stand up against “white terror”.