Hong Kong descended into disarray yesterday, after what started as a peaceful protest turned violent fast, as tens of thousands surrounded the city’s Central Government Complex (CGO) and blocked major city roads.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and used pepper spray on protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowd. For the first time in the city’s history, riot police also used tear gas and smoke bombs inside the Legislative Council building after protesters tried to enter the premises.
In a leaked interview by local news channel TVB, an emotional Chief Executive told journalists that she did not sell out Hong Kong and believes the government is doing the right thing.
“If young people have taken action and don’t give them what you want, then what?” Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.
She also compared the protests to issues faced by parents of children throwing a tantrum. “If I let [my son] have his way every time [he] acts this way, I believe we will have a good relationship in the short term. But if I indulge in his wayward behaviour, he might regret it after he grows up.”
The CGO shut down amid the clashes yesterday; and the reading of the bil - which was set for 11am yesterday morning - had been postponed until further notice.
In a statement released by the Hong Kong government at 6am this morning, the CGO will be "temporarily closed" today and tomorrow due to security reasons, and all and visits to the complex are postponed or cancelled. Staff working in the complex are asked to work in accordance with the contingency plans of their respective departments.
The Hong Kong Teachers’ Union announced yesterday that they would go on a week-long strike. But the Education Bureau expressed strong opposition to their planned class boycott. A statement released by them said that “schools should not be used for expressing political aspirations”.
According to RTHK, hospital officials said that by 10pm last night, 72 people had been treated for injuries they had suffered during the day. They were aged between 15 and 66.
However, despite authorities attempting to clamp down, protests continued into the night. According to an eyewitness, more people were showing on up on Gloucester Road to show their support as they were angry about events that unfolded during the day.
But protesters did also encourage each other to go home and rest. “They are sending supplies like food and water to camps at different locations to prepare [for future protests],” an eyewitness said.
As of 8.25am, Admiralty MTR station remains closed, with trains on the Tsuen Wan, Island and South Island lines bypassing the station. A free shuttle bus has been arranged to take passengers between Ocean Park and Kennedy Town stations.
While most schools remain open, students who rely on the MTR to get there must make other arrangements.
Classes at German Swiss International School's Peak campus (its secondary section) are cancelled, while its Pok Fu Lam campus remains open.