19th August 2019 – (Hong Kong) Police had earlier issued a Letter of No Objection regarding the gathering held yesterday (August 18) on Hong Kong Island. Although the gathering was generally peaceful, acts of breaching public peace happened afterwards.
A large number of protestors rushed to the roads and occupied the carriageways of Causeway Road and Hennessy Road after leaving the public meeting venue. The protestors later proceeded to Western District, Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, occupying the carriageways and paralysed the traffic in the vicinity. In the evening, a large group of protestors still stayed on the carriageways around Admiralty. Some protestors also shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers.
According to a public statement issued by police at 1.35am today, one of the accusations by the public meeting organiser was the abusive use of violence by Police. Police have to point out that over the past two months, violent incidents happened in various large-scale protests. The Police Force has always been exercising restraint, tolerance and patience, striving to maintain public order and protect the safety of members of the public. Only when there were violent acts or illegal behaviours which endangered the safety of people at scene, Police would stop them by proportionate use of force to prevent the incidents from heating up and worsening. Protestors neglected their violent acts and the provocation at Police but criticised Police’s use of force was reversing the causality and was unfair to Police.
Spokesperson for police further reiterated that they respect people’s rights and freedom to express views and facilitate all peaceful public events and they appeal to protestors to remain peaceful, rational and non-violent when participating in public events in order to maintain public safety and public order.
At around 10pm yesterday, police said that there were protesters who used sling shots to hurl objects at Government Headquarters, laser pointers were also used to flash at police officers guarding the premises. At around 11pm, there were still over 1,000 protesters occupying Harcourt Road. A protester who was believed to be one of the frontline protest leaders suddenly raised a blue flag signalling others to retreat slowly. At 11.40pm, many protesters left via Admiralty Station and someone shouted ‘let’s go!’ before the crowd dispersed. At 12.20am today, Harcourt Road’s traffic was restored to normal.