İrem UZUN -TDO- Hundreds of thousands of people marched through central Hong Kong on Sunday in the biggest pro-democracy march since millions took to the streets when the protests began in June. The march was mostly peaceful, in a rare break from the escalating violent scenes of recent weeks. Chanting “Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of our time!”, a sea of protesters formed a two-mile-long human snake winding for blocks on Hong Kong Island, from the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Central business zone. It was the first time in nearly four months that the march organizer, Civil Human Rights Front, had been given police permission for a mass demonstration. The organizer of million-strong marches in June estimated that 800,000 people participated in the march. Police said only 183,000 people turned up.
Although the atmosphere was mostly carnival-like, tension escalated as riot police and a large group of militant protesters confronted each other in Central, the end point of the protest route. Some chanted “Five demands, not one less!”, referring to a set of as-yet-unfulfilled political demands, including democratic reforms and an independent investigation into police brutality. Police said protesters threw petrol bombs outside the high court and the court of final appeal and spray-painted the outside walls of the high court building, which “seriously challenged the spirit of the rule of law”. Local media reported that the message “Rule of law is dead” was emblazoned on the building.