Hong Kong was seized by another night of violence after a peaceful afternoon march in Tai Po split on several fronts as protesters tried to flee the police.
Riot police fired tear gas at crowds in neighboring Shatin and Tai Wai districts on Saturday night in an attempt to disperse the black-clad protesters who had barricaded the roads with nearby supplies.
Several miles away, riot police also used tear gas in crowds in Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district, while throughout the city at Hong Kong International Airport, a peaceful occupation continued on its second day.
Most protesters, however, appeared to be mobile Saturday night, with thousands of people scattering across the New Territories and Kowloon after receiving reports of police movements in messaging apps.
"The strategy is that when the police arrive, we will leave and move to a different place," said Michael Wong, a nursing student and a volunteer doctor. “When the police arrive in a different place, they need to plan and have a reaction time, so we use [just] to buy time.”
The cat-and-mouse game, often referred to by the slogan “be water,” made recent protests less predictable than in early June when anti-government protests began against a legislative bill that many feared was an attack on civilians. and civilian from Hong Kong. political rights.
“Everyone is the front line. You can decide what to do, ”said one protester who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions. “[Some] go to Shatin or the airport, but you can decide what to do.”
As the protests enter their 10 Week, Hong Kong appears to be facing its worst political crisis since its return to the Chinese government in 1997, when the government does not respond to intense public outrage over legislative design and heavy police tactics.
Protests became an almost daily occurrence throughout the city, with large-scale demonstrations set aside for the weekend.
Much of the anger that underpins the protests seems to come from longstanding fears about Hong Kong's future under Chinese rule, and the government's inability to understand or act on the wishes of many of its residents following the failure of democratic protests. 2014.
Over the past five years, the government seems to have come closer and closer to Beijing, although Hong Kong has promised semi-autonomy until 2047.
One protester, Alice Chan, said she considered Carrie Lam's failure as Hong Kong's leader to respond to protest demands, which remained the same for 10 weeks, as a sign of Chinese interference.
Lam did not withdraw the bill, which would have allowed suspected criminals to be deported to stand trial in mainland China, although she has promised he is suspended.
"I think they just want to hear and do what the Beijing government wants them to do," Chan said. “It's not what the people of Hong Kong want them to do. It's the difference since the umbrella revolution. ”
Distrust of the Hong Kong government and its autonomy, which is protected by the “one country, two systems” agreement, has led many protesters to call direct elections for the first time since 2014.