22 years ago on July 1, the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to China, resulting in the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Since then, on each Establishment Day, the Civil Human Rights Front has been organizing an annual march to demand universal suffrage and free speech.
On Monday, 550,000 protestors took part in the July 1 March, making it the largest ever since 1997, and the most notable one in its 22 year history.
Here’s our list of everything that happened that day.
Protesters took down the Chinese national flag and raised a black flag at half-mast outside the Legislative Council
The day started early. At around 4am, protestors replaced the national flag in front of the Legislative Council complex and replaced it with a black flag featuring the Bauhinia flower at half-mast. This set the stage for everything else that was to happen that day. Individuals could also be seen waving the black flag and British colonial flags on the streets.
Protesters raised a black bauhinia version of the #HongKong flag at the protest zone outside the legislature around 4am on Monday.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) July 1, 2019
The Hong Kong government moved its official flag-raising ceremony indoors for the first time due to “bad weather”
The official flag-raising ceremony scheduled at 8 am had to be moved from the waterfront of the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai to inside the complex because of the large number of protesters gathering outside the venue. The government said the shift was due to “bad weather”. While the flags were raised outside, guestswatched proceedings via a live broadcast from inside the exhibition center. Outside, protestors gave the helicopter flypast carrying the Chinese and Hong Kong flags the middle finger.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam watches the flag-raising ceremony, indoors, on a big screen. She was applauded as she came into the room. Outside, two helicopters carrying Chinese and Hong Kong flags fly overhead to mark the 22nd anniversary of the HK handover. pic.twitter.com/FKuwqGTl2b
— Nick Beake (@Beaking_News) July 1, 2019
As helicopters carrying the Chinese and Hong Kong flags fly past, protesters give them the middle finger pic.twitter.com/XNO72m82yg
— Julia Hollingsworth (@juliaholli) July 1, 2019
Booths closed early at the official handover celebration as protests caused a drop in visitors
Because of a low turnout, 23 of 35 booths closed earlier than scheduled on the last day of the Greater Bay Festival, a three-day event to commemorate the handover. According to a shop operator, many visitors and some booth owners left the festival to join the protests nearby.
Organizers changed the final destination of the planned march away from the Legislative Complex
Due to a clash outside the Legislative Council building, organizers changed the destination of the July 1 march from the Legislative Complex to Chater Road.Going against police advice to reschedule the protest, organizers went ahead and started the march in Victoria Park at 2 pm as planned. The peaceful protest was attended by a wide cross-section of society.
It was so hot that pro-democratic legislator Claudia Mo collapsed
She was sent in for medical treatment and recovered later.
My colleague @ClaudiaMCMo collapsed & was brought to medical treatment around 1:50pm Please send our thoughts & prayers. Please make sure comrades around you are OK, physically & mentally. Source: City Broadcasting Channel Facebook #HongKongProtests #反送中 pic.twitter.com/MPr1KVpIyg
— Ray Chan (@ray_slowbeat) July 1, 2019
Protesters smashed glass and metal fencing trying to make way into Hong Kong’s Legislative Council
As things heated up in the afternoon, a more radical protest occurred outside the Hong Kong Legislative Council building as protesters with helmets and masks tried to smash their way into the Hong Kong Legislative Council building by ramming a metal trolley through the glass doors. Some pro-democratic legislators appeared to dissuade them from the action, warning that they could face 10 years in prison. However, the demonstrators were not persuaded and police responded with pepper spray and batons. The council then issued a red alert, with all staff evacuating from the building immediately. Curiously, legislator Leung Yiu-chung who was there to stop radical protestors from taking dramatic action was tackled to the ground by an officer. While things remained chaotic at this point, protestors remained unable to get into the building.
Conspiracy theories have emerged among protestors saying the people that were trying to smash their way into the building were not “one of us”.
— peter kong (@Mnbqwe10) July 1, 2019
Some of the more radical protesters are storming the Legco now despite pro-democracy lawmakers' effort to stop them. Legislator Leung Yiu-chung was tackled on the floor pic.twitter.com/nclAI2RqWO
— Chris Lau (@hkchrislau) July 1, 2019
大家留意：當立法會議員梁耀忠試圖阻止暴力人士衝擊立法會玻璃時，有人將他像摔角一樣搭在地上，使他頭部受傷。然後梁耀忠奮不顧身再次衝上去試圖擋住他們想用來撞立法會玻璃的鐵籠車。這時一個手持警方專用圓盾的人用力拉開了他，不讓他阻止衝擊。但盾牌上面沒了「警察 Police」字眼。 pic.twitter.com/8tSs6zHUyw
— 阿基里斯的黎明 (@panzerwong) July 1, 2019
Protesters successfully broke into the Legislative Council as chaos ensued
At around 9 pm, the protesters successfullybroke into the legislative council building. About a hundred protesters flooded into the building. They went into the main chamber, spray-painted phrases such as “Carrie Lam, step down!” on the wall, and defaced a Hong Kong SAR emblem on the wall. A black banner with “No rioters, only tyranny” was hung in the chamber while an old colonial flag was placed in the president’s chair. Multiple protest groups made different statements to the media inside the chamber.
While defacing what they saw as symbols of tyranny inside the building, protestors took care not to destroy antiques and books. They also left money behind for cans of drinks they took from the fridge as no one was on duty. A sign was seen on the fridge, “We are not thiefs. We will not steal.”
As midnight approached, there was a tearful debate over whether to stay in the building or go, and eventually most protesters exited the building. A group of protesters rushed back into the chamber and dragged out four protesters who had wanted to stay. They shouted, “We leave together!”
— 端傳媒 Initium Media (@initiumnews) July 1, 2019
— Alex Hofford (@alexhofford) July 1, 2019
Protesters in the process of tearing LegCo apart. Police nowhere to be seen. Barricading some entrances, will be very difficult and dangerous to clear them. pic.twitter.com/BkurSpnov1
— 𝕛𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕤 𝕘𝕣𝕚𝕗𝕗𝕚𝕥𝕙𝕤 🇭🇰🏴 (@jgriffiths) July 1, 2019
Inside the legislative chamber. pic.twitter.com/6fSzXwo5YC
— 𝕛𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕤 𝕘𝕣𝕚𝕗𝕗𝕚𝕥𝕙𝕤 🇭🇰🏴 (@jgriffiths) July 1, 2019
As the protesters entering the Legislative Council:
Pic 1: Protect the books, do not destroy (that’s the entrance of the library)
Pic 2&3: Protect the antiques, do not destroy
Pic 4: The protesters left money before taking the sofa (Legco restaurant) #HongKongProtest #CLS pic.twitter.com/oYQgChDSu1
— Joanna Cheung (@Hiu_Kwan) July 1, 2019
Police cleared protesters from the Legislative Council with tear gas
Police carrying riot shields started to clear protesters around the Legislative Council after midnight, deploying lots of tear gas in the process. By 1 am, demonstrators had dispersed and police had taken back the entire area around the building.
Police actively clearing the streets of Hong Kong near the LegCo. Lots of tear gas deployed. pic.twitter.com/UqC9c8WSWd
— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) July 1, 2019
Carrie Lam held a hastily called press conference at 4 am at police headquarters
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam held a news conference at 4 a.m on Tuesday condemning the“extremely violent” storming into the legislative council, while affirming the peaceful march as reflective of Hong Kong’s “core value” of peace and order. “Nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong,” Lam said. She added that it is “not true” that the government did not respond to the protesters’ demand as the bill is now suspended. She also hoped society would “return to normal as soon as possible”. Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said “protesters violent act have far exceeded the bottom line of peaceful expression of demands.”
"This is something that we should seriously condemn" – Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam hopes "society will return to normal as soon as possible" following day of violent protests at Hong Kong's parliament https://t.co/0dMGEUDXMn pic.twitter.com/iTLCETVIC0
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 1, 2019