Hong Kong protests: All the latest updates

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators rally for the 13th successive weekend as violence breaks out with police.

Demonstrators take cover during a protest in Hong Kong
Demonstrators take cover during a protest in Hong Kong, China [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

Clashes erupted after thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong gathered for a 13th consecutive weekend defying a police ban. 

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers near the legislative council compound.

Demonstrators have issued five main demands, including the right to elect officials and the resignation of beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a decision by China‘s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, August 31

Police fight running street battles with demonstrators

Chaos engulfed Hong Kong’s financial heart Saturday night as police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters who set large fires and threw petrol bombs.

Thick, black smoke swirled near Hong Kong’s police headquarters. The fire set at a huge makeshift barricade was extinguished after burning for about half an hour.

“Peaceful protest doesn’t work,” said demonstrator Stone, 22, giving one name. “I think they [the hardcore protesters] have to vent their anger to achieve something.”

Hong Kong police said in a statement “radical protesters” threw “corrosives and petrol bombs” at riot officers posing a “serious threat” to everyone at the scene.

Hong Kong protesters build wall, set fires

Protesters have set a large roadblock ablaze near Hong Kong’s police headquarters.

Demonstrators piled up debris for a makeshift barrier across a commercial street in the Wan Chai district and set smaller fires after a retreat from outside government headquarters.

Hundreds of protesters gathered behind the huge barrier, many pointing laser beams that streaked the night sky above them. Police had yet to confront them.

Hong Kong protesters retreat

Many of the protesters outside Hong Kong government headquarters have retreated as large contingents of police arrive on the streets in what looks like preparation for a clearing operation.

The standoff continued for some time, but protesters started moving back as word spread that police were headed in their direction. A few front-line protesters remained, occasionally hurling gasoline bombs at the officers in formation and apparently waiting for orders to advance.

Police use tear gas, water cannon 

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and a water cannon to try to drive back protesters outside government headquarters.

Protesters pointed laser beams at police and tossed petrol bombs and rocks. Officers responded by firing tear gas into the crowds of protesters from the other side of the barriers. Earlier, they shot blue-coloured water from water cannon.

Unrest In Hong Kong During Anti-Government Protests
Protesters throw tear gas canisters back at police during an anti-government rally outside of Central Government Complex  in Hong Kong [Anthony Kwan/Getty Images]
Unrest In Hong Kong During Anti-Government Protests
Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies on the streets of Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill since 9 June [Anthony Kwan/Getty Images]

Protesters defy police ban to rally

Large crowds of protesters gathered and marched in central Hong Kong, defying a police ban on the march to mark the fifth anniversary of China’s decision against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Black-clad demonstrators, some carrying crosses, gathered at a sports stadium in Hong Kong’s city centre for what they called a Christian rally, before fanning out into the streets and marching towards the police headquarters in central Wan Chai.

Authorities had turned down an application for a march to the Chinese government office to mark five years since China’s rejection of demands on August 31 for free elections in Hong Kong.

Read more here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies