We mentioned about tensions rising during that long march from To Kwa Wan to Mongkok and how it ended in police operations to disperse the protesters. The day after, everything changed again, as the population responded en masse to a protest, thus proving that support for frontline protesters had not changed, despite the incidents at the airport. Despite the police banning the protest, it became another gigantic march. Previous ones had brought out 1 million and 2 million people according to organizers.

A banned protest

The original plan was to organize a march from Victoria park to Central. The police banned the march and restricted it to a static meeting in Victoria park (maximum capacity: 128,000 people).

The police banning a protest was according to a recurring pattern over the past few weeks. And somehow, it was strangely reminiscent of the pro-Beijing lawmakers’ suggestion in June.

The big question was thus whether the population would turn up in force to defy the prohibition. Well, turn up they did. As we exited our uber, we found ourselves facing a sea of umbrellas exiting from Hysan place.

A sea of umbrellas

People started moving very slowly out of Hysan place, the mall in Causeway Bay, starting to cover all the streets around. From the top of the mall, this was the view:

Eventually, people started moving. But as this was a leaderless protest, once again, people took every direction available, some heading to Central, others to North Point.

An emotional reunion

While trying to find an MTR station less crowded under the heavy rain, I was recognized by a protester. He was part of the group that had verbally taken me to task for flying a drone in their middle in Shatin. This time, the attitude was totally changed as he apologized for the confusion at the time and even hugged me.

I know that China tries to present these kids as lawless rabble thirsty for destruction, but my experience of them is that this is not true. They are scared maybe, they don’t have a clear idea about how to organize, but they definitely have ideals and a the brotherhood that only a shared cause can bring.

Marching into the evening

As the evening wore on, more people kept marching, sometimes even cutting off the traffic on Victoria Park Road.

Protesters on Victoria Park Road

The sheer size of the crowd could only be estimated by knowing that people kept marching until 9 pm.

Protesters criss cross with an overpass.
People keep marching during the largest “illegal” protest in Hong Kong

A sunset of hope

As we were heading for Fortress Hill, the nearest MTR station next to Causeway Bay, a marvelous sunset showed off in the background, despite the continuous rain. For some reason, this sunset seemed to provide some hope that with this large peaceful protest, Hong Kong had sent a peaceful yet firm message to China. Yet, the week thereafter would oscillate between a similar feeling of calm determination (The Hong Kong Way) and the habitual scenes of confrontation in Tsuen Wan and Kowloon Bay.

Sunset in the rain
A sunset over Victoria harbour in the rain (or red on blue)

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