By Henry Williams.
Just two days after pro-establishment protests in Hong Kong, citizens of the Special Administrative Region are out again in force.
Groups from both sides, both pro- and anti-Beijing were out to demonstrate on New Year’s Day, a day that has traditionally seen numerous protests in the past.
Before the afternoon’s main event, a morning rally in support of Chief Executive CY Leung drew at least 8,000 according to the police. Estimates, as is becoming a tradition in Hong Kong, varied wildly, with organisers claiming the number was almost eight times larger. As with Sunday’s protest, most protesters were elderly, and had apparently been coached in by Beijing-loyal pressure groups.
Meeting under colonial Hong Kong-British flags, the anti-China marches kicked off at 3pm.
The Hong Kong Autonmous Movement, are calling on Hong Kong’s leaders to face up to their poor performance:
“Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying performed poorly during the illegal structure saga, and we have lost confidence in him,” [movement spokesperson Vincent Lau] said.
One-third of Hong Kong Island’s police were out to keep rival groups apart. The South China Morning Post said eight groups were out for the day:
Tens of thousands of protesters from eight groups – five against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and three in favour – will gather in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Central and Western district to express different, sometimes conflicting political views.
“Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po should step down because of his role in the recent sub-divided flat controversy and Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim for his role in the attempt to implement national education,” he said.
The policing was described in the Post as the city’s “most complicated security situation” in two years.
Protests in 2010 drew thousands, and saw protests reaching the home of China in Hong Kong, the Beijing liaison office.
Reader Fabian Brimfield provided his some of his own photos of the event:
[Images via: @Steve_Dunthorne | @jj_ngo | @ayanodomoto | @singsingarsing | @fabulousfeb | @whtdoyumean | @ongreno | @oooOoooOoo | Nora Tam/SCMP]