What’s the atmosphere like right now? The mood is uncertain and increasingly tense on Harcourt Road, as a few thousand protesters continue to occupy the roads outside the government headquarters in Admiralty district. Police have been seen moving inside the government complex, to roars of disapproval and shouts from the crowd. The complex is heavily barricaded and protected by large water filled barriers.
What are people doing? Several protesters are wearing hard hats, goggles, gloves and other protection gear that has become a familiar sight in recent weeks. There’s a sense that a clearance could take place any time… or could be hours away if it comes at all.
What are the protesters saying? Speaking to CNN, one protester who only gave his first name as Peter said, “When there’s no police (at past events), people left at exactly 11:59 p.m.,” he said, referring to when police letters of no objection expire. The last MTR trains of the night also run around this time.
“Whenever there’s police it will be a mess and people will get hurt. I don’t think anyone wants anyone to get hurt tonight,” Peter said.
Another protester named Steven said, “If police fire tear gas we will fight them.”
Asked if it would be better if police stayed inside and let people disperse slowly but peacefully, he said “totally.”
If it’s supposed to be a peaceful march, why are they still out? The unwillingness of the crowds outside government offices to leave shows that, while organizers Civil Human Rights Front can get hundreds of thousands of people out, it exercises little control over the small cohort of young frontline protesters.
They are determined to make a point tonight, either by holding the street until midnight or beyond, or by fighting back against police should a clearance come.
“We don’t want to have any problems tonight, no tear gas or anything,” one protester named Felix said. “This was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Those of us with gear will stay until the last but everyone else should go.”
He and his friends were shouting at the crowd saying “we’re waiting for you all to go home.”