January 2, 2020,
On the first day of 2020, the Hong Kong Civil Rights Front (NDF) launched a New Year’s Day parade. The police had been notified in advance without objection.
According to the “Apple Daily” report, the New Year’s Day march of the Hong Kong Civilian Human Rights Front (PFN) launched a parade with the theme of “Side by side, never forget the original intention.” The march started from the central lawn of Victoria Park to the pedestrian zone of Chater Road.
Hongkongers were dressed in costumes with families and elderly people. Slogans such as “liberate Hong kong, the revolution of our era” chants rang through the city streets.
The people were not wearing protective gear to show it was a peaceful march.
The parade attracted huge crowds to press their demands for an independent inquiry into police action, amnesty for those arrested and universal suffrage amid an anti-government movement. The mass rally, organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, followed violent New Year’s Eve protests overnight.
The booking is usually valid from 3 pm to 10 pm, but around 5 pm the police forced the people to disband and dispatched water cannons, armored vehicles and made indiscriminate arrests, resulting in more than 400 people being detained.
It was only 3 hours into the march when police raised the flag to call on protesters to disband within 30 minutes.
Police were intolerant of the violent spats that broke out on the sidelines.
Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu criticized the decision by police to use tear gas against radicals while the march was still underway.
“There are still elderly and children out there, and police are just disregarding public safety in firing tear gas. What if a stampede occurs?”
He expressed his concern saying the force should still find a benevolent solution even amidst the vandalism.
Chow, 20, who works in the food and beverage industry, said police’s sudden cancellation of the march permit is unreasonable.
“But they do this every time, they give the letter of no objection but then they cancel it without considering how people can leave,” he said.
Tuesday night people laid flowers outside a metro station to commemorate protestors who had died during clashes with police 4 months ago. Riot police used water cannons to disperse the crowd. The government denies the deaths occurred.
It was the largest number of arrests in a single day since the unrest began 8 months ago. It was also the largest march which attracted close to 2 million people.