Occupy Central

OCCUPY CENTRAL - NIGHT TWO: Full report of all the night's events

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 1:14pm

Welcome to the SCMP's live coverage of the Hong Kong Occupy Central protests.

Tens of thousands of people are still occupying streets across the city, demanding democratic reforms from Beijing.

Police have largely kept a low profile overnight, after resorting to the use of tear gas and pepper spray on Sunday.

Stay tuned for breaking news throughout the night.





Watch: Occupy Central leader: Movement "beyond imagination" and "touching"




6.59am. Central: Over 20 police vehicles parked near the ferry piers


6.42am. Mong Kok: An estimated 1,000 people are sitting at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street.

6.21am. Protest organisers in Mong Kok ask for a show of hands to decide whether to narrow the road block on Nathan Road following a five-minute discussion period among the protest group.  The crowd decided in a show of hands not to remove the barricades.

5.53am. Admiralty: After a few hours of rest, organisers break the silence early Tuesday morning urging protesters to hold down the fort for two more hours

5.45am. Causeway Bay: A group of about ten police and media liaison officers came to negotiate traffic access with protesters blocking a major intersection in Causeway Bay. The group stayed less than 5 minutes, speaking over a loudspeaker, urging protesters to clear the streets to allow buses to run again. The protesters rejected their request, saying "Thank you! Please go back", after which the police left in two vehicles.

5.36am. Mong Kok: Protesters remove some of the barricades blocking Argyle Street, partially restoring traffic to Mong Kok. Around one thousand protestors remain at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street.

5.14am. Thousands of protesters moved out of from Central towards Admiralty to consolidate their position amid rumours of a police advance. Previous barricades near the Mandarin Oriental Hotel - at the intersection of Ice House Street and Connaught Road Central, Chater Road and Des Voeux Road Central - have been abandoned. New barricades have been erected on Connaught Road Central near City Hall. Another crowd of about 150 people have pulled back from the Cheung Kong Centre to Admiralty along Queensway.

4.49am. Causeway Bay: Remaining protesters are milling around Yee Wo Street, with some congregating at the street's junction with Percival Street. The streets have been left fairly clean, with rubbish piled around overflowing rubbish bins, but little left scattered on the ground. Many protesters were seen picking up trash.

4.11am. Causeway Bay: Scores of protesters have left or are in the process of leaving the site of a rally opposite the Sogo department store. Organisers reiterated their position that the protest in Causeway Bay has been made up of individuals - and that students were there to merely to provide support. "This group is made up of all free agents," said Ken Chung Ka-kan, who has been helping to set up first aid stations at various locations across the city.

3.38am. The party-like atmosphere has died down a little at Admiralty as multiple unconfirmed reports of police moving westwards cause protesters to put on protective gear and go on standby. Protesters also appear anxious about the news of unruliness in Mong Kok.

3.20am. After a relatively peaceful night, protesters are gearing up for a potential stand-off with authorities in Causeway Bay amid reports that the police are heading there from Wan Chai.

3.05am. A water balloon was dropped on protesters as they walked along Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay. 

2.52am. Washington called on Hong Kong’s leaders to show restraint after riot police fired tear gas on mass democracy protests, and said it had told Beijing it backs universal suffrage in the territory.

“The United States urges the Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint and for protesters to express their views peacefully,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. “The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance  with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people.

Earnest also said that the position of chief executive in Hong Kong would be given more credibility if Hong Kong people could freely choose its candidates for the job.

2.45am. Mong Kong: Police officers arrive at Argyle Street in Mong Kok to investigate the dangerous driving incident when a car sped through protesters. Without revealing his name, one police officer told the press that he felt that the police were not popular among Hongkongers. Describing the police as servants of the people, the officer from Mong Kok station said police routinely encountered foul langage "everywhere when they go." Angry crowds at the scene of the incident at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street were angered by the incident. Protest organsers said a new barricade had been set up to prevent cars from entering the area again.

2.28am. The atmosphere in Gloucester Road outside Hong Kong Red Cross headquarters grew more tense as volunteers began building new barricades, amid fears that the situation may turn sour outside the police headquarters in Arsenal Street, where hundreds of protesters are involved in a stand-off with police.

2.09am. The crowd gathered outside police headquarters has grown to over 1,000 strong in the space of two hours. Hundreds of protesters are staging a sit-in at a flyover on the junction of Gloucester Road, while another 400 remain in Arsenal Street. About 200 police, none of them wearing riot gear, stand guard at the entrance to the police building.

01.53am. Mong Kok: A private car drove at high speed through crowds of protesters gathering at a busy Mong Kok intersection, narrowly missing activists and police alike. Nobody was injured, but the incident triggered panic.

01.50am. Timelapse sequence of protesters gathering in Causeway Bay on Sunday night

1.47am. Mong Kok: The thousands of protesters who remain are mostly calm, with some small groups becoming excited and emotional. Organisers say they are ready for an overnight sit-in to block traffic. The temporary "stage" in the middle of Nathan Road and Argyle Street is now open to the floor for protesters to share their thoughts.

Watch: Thousands gather in Mong Kok for second night of protests

1.42am. In an email to students, staff and alumni, HKU vice chancellor Prof Peter Mathieson said the HKU "profoundly regrets the escalation of events in recent days. We condemn violence of any kind by any party. We cannot understand the use of tear gas yesterday: the police and the government are accountable for that decision."

1.33am. The facade of a bus taken over by protestors since the first day of protests has been turned into a fake funeral alter for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Protestors take turns at burning incense, in the form of cigarettes, before bowing and then insulting him.

1.18am. Causeway Bay: News circulates that an an increasing amount of non-uniformed police are milling around the crowds outside Sogo department store. Occupy Central protesters are reminded to be on the alert.

1.01am. Causeway Bay: A group of music graduates from the HKAPA brought their violins, violas, cello and cajon to perform music as a peaceful way of bringing people together. Dubbing themselves the Strings of Justice, they group played songs like Do You Hear the People Sing from the musical Les Miserables.

"This is our peaceful way of contributing something to Hong Kong," said group member Walter Chan Ching-tak, who said they spontaneously decided to gather alumni to play on Monday morning. "We aren't just playing for the protestors - we hope the police will be able to hear too, and that they would find solace in the music."

The group are hoping to play later this morning in Admiralty, near their alma mater.

00.52am. After Joshua Wong Chi-fun, Giles Bell, a professor of religious studies from England took to the stage outside Sogo. Bell said that he had been teaching about peaceful protest for years, but had never witnessed anything like the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong.

"I am very impressed and moved by the integrity of the people and their peaceful attitude," he said. Bell also said that "people of Britain are supporting Hong Kong."

Students and protesters applauded his speech, which ended with him telling the crowd: "I have deep respect for all of you."

00.48am. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, leader of the Scholarism movement, rallies crowds outside Sogo in Causeway Bay with an emotive speech praising the protesters courage and unity.

"The streets are being voluntarily occupied by the people. This movement belongs to them," Wong told protesters.

Before he arrived in Causeway Bay he said that he heard people saying the future of Hong Kong relied on him. "It should be the people, everyone," he said, adding that such a struggle could not rely on a single person. Wong also addressed the Hong Kong and Chinese governments, saying that he didn't believe in a progressive political reform.

The crowd applauded and cheered his words enthusiastically while calling for Chief Executive CY Leung's resignation.

00.36am Tamar site protesters have been told to sit closer together to strengthen their defences on Lung Wui Road. Volunteers are calling on everyone to put together all their supplies - particularly eye masks and water - at a collection point at a roundabout near Tim Mei Avenue.

00.30am.  Four men who had been manning a barbeque grill since 7pm on Rodney Street wrapped up around 12.30am after running out of food. The four reiterated repeatedly that they were "not here for a party", nor were they "having a good time".

"This is not a barbecue party and we are not here to have a lot of fun. We are just trying to provide hot food for everyone as this fight will last for while."

This was met with loud cheers and applause by the crowd.

Financier Daniel Shepherd said they had spent about HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 on meat and sausages.

00.16am. Occupy organiser Dr Chan Kin-man appealed to sit-in protesters to "hang on" until October 1, the National Day holiday, as plans for the next stage of civil disobedience were due to be announced ahead of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"We hope that Hong Kong people can hang on and occupy the several spots that we are now having our demonstrations [until] at least October 1 ... to show our dignity and our determination to fight for democracy," Chan told local media.

11.54pm. Federation of Students and Scholarism threatened to step up their protests if the government did not respond to their demands by October 1.

Crowds in Mong Kok continued to grow as darkness fell and by 11pm, lines of protesters stretched from central Mong Kong to as far away as Yau Ma Tei. In Central, crowds were occupying the section of Des Voeux Road Central outside Worldwide House.

Hongkong Red Cross, which has set up a first aid station in its Admiralty headquarters to cope with the Occupy Central protests, said it had handled 132 injury cases between Saturday and 5pm on Monday. “Most of the cases were related to tear gas inhalation or injuries from fall, and three cases needed transferral to hospital,” it said in a statement.

11.42pm. The atmosphere outside police headquarters on Arsenal Street calmed down after tensions rose when more than 100 protesters launched a silent sit-in outside the building in Wan Chai. Police stengthened their deployment and moved in barricades to deal with the growing numbers. 

11.34pm Protesters are removing barricades at Hennessy Road, allowing people to circulate freely. Hundreds are seen heading from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay. A student leader said this measure would allow more people to join the protest and could provide an exit in case of a police crackdown. The four lanes in front of Sogo shopping mall - from one flyover to another - are now fully occupied.

11.19pm British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has been tweeting about the ongoing protests.

"I sympathise a great deal with the brave pro-democracy demonstrators taking to the streets of Hong Kong," Clegg, leader of minority governing coalition party the Liberal Democrats, tweeted on Wednesday night Hong Kong time.

"Universal suffrage must mean real choice for the people of Hong Kong and a proper stake in the 2017 election. The UK remains committed to the Joint Declaration and the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’," he concluded.

10.50pm Despite the crowds around the war memorial in Central, not one person is standing or sitting on the grass. There's a new cardboard sign over the usual sign telling people not to go on the grass.

10.40pm The crowd outside police headquarters on Arsenal Street showed no signs of diminishing. They are occupy the flyover connecting Gloucester Road

10.35pm People near Sogo in Causeway Bay are shouting: "Leung Chun-ying resign, 689, resign!".

A student leader asks the crowd: "Isn't it clear what the public opinion is?"  "Yes!" comes the thundering answer. 

10.20pm Three British financiers have won over the crowds in Admiralty grilling sausages and corn on a portable barbecue.

One of the Brits, Danel Shepherd, told local media that he's been living in the city for 10 years and wanted to come and support the protesters with food, along with two of his colleagues. All three work in the IFC. Another supporter also brought demonstrators a huge vat of casserole.

This marks a difference in fare for the protesters, many of whom have been subsisting on chocolate bars and bananas donated by supporters.

10.10pm In front of Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, a student leader warns protesters that staying overnight is unlawful and that they might get arrested. He is giving instructions and the number of lawyers to whom students should call in case they are detained.

10.05pm Protesters start filling in Tim Mei Avenue - once blocked by police - again as Harcourt Road is fully packed.

10.00pm Schools and colleges on Hong Kong island will remain closed tomorrow, the government said this evening.

"Classes of all kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and special schools in the Wan Chai, Central and Western districts" will be suspended on September 30, the Education Bureau said in a statement.

"For students studying in other districts but cannot go to schools due to traffic problems, schools should exercise flexibility when handling students' lateness or absence," it continued. The government encouraged parents to "keep their children home and not allow them to participate in any assemblies or activities that might be unlawful."

9.55pm Mong Kok is the smallest of the protest areas around the city, but demonstrators are no less determined and Hong Kong's chief executive is proving a popular target. "CY Leung step down, we want genuine universal suffrage," read one banner. Protesters also took over a bus, changing its number to 689, the amount of votes cast for Leung in the 2012 chief executive election and listing its destination as "hell".

9.30pm Mong Kong appears to be getting more congested than the shopping district has ever been - people who arrive at the scene have to move toward Prince Edward inch by inch in order to find a seat. No police officer is seen around the rally site so far.

People wave their phones with the torchlights on, creating a sea of light at the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street. 

A group of Christians carry a big white cross on the street as they sing and pray for the future of Hong Kong. 

More mini vans arrive to join some 60 cars which were there blocking off five lanes on Argyle Street - but they open one lane for the traffic to flow. Some of the drivers say they have parked in the middle of the street since early this morning, and they haven't got a parking ticket from the police. 

9.30pm Music now plays in Causeway Bay. The mood is relaxed, while supplies continue to pour in. Spontaneous speeches are happening at every corner. A protester grabbed the microphone, saying this is a long-term fight, and that CY Leung stepping down won't be enough. "Hong Kong people want democracy," he says. The four lanes of Yee Wo street are now fully packed.

9.15pm The Admiralty Centre shopping arcade, under MTR management, is closing soon with lights dimmed. The mall manager said the opening hours are "just back to normal" and last night was an exception.

Tonight seems quite peaceful...we stayed opened yesterday because we saw tear gas was used and thought [it would] help crowds to evacuate in case of emergency."

9.00pm Crowds in Central boo as people carry a giant cutout of CY Leung's face daubed with vampire fangs along Connaught Road Central. Protesters chant for Leung to step down. 

9.00pm The bridge linking Admiralty Centre and Government Headquarters which was blocked by police earlier had reopened this afternoon.

Protesters, who are barred access to Tim Mei Avenue, are now allowed to go in, where the mainstage of occupy central locates.

8.55pm Drama unfolds on Queensway in Admiralty where protesters try to save a person who is trying to jump from a bridge. Tweets from a WSJ reporter on the scene showed people holding up what look like tarps or mats underneath the bridge. Fire Services department officers have also inflated an air mattress to break the fall.

8.30pm: A police source confirmed to the Post that a group allied to Occupy Central has had an application for permission to hold a rally on Chater Road on October 1 turned down.

"We have reason to believe that the event would turn into an illegal activity", the source said, explaining the decision.

The Hong Kong Democratic Development Network, co-founded by Occupy Central leader Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, applied for a permit of no objection from police some time ago, but the decision was delayed.

8.17pm: Whoops! An embarrassing slip of the tongue by Carrie Lam, when she tells a press briefing that police used "appropriate violence" when dealing with protesters on Sunday.

A spokesman from her office issued a press statement an hour later to clarify that Lam meant to say "appropriate force" when describing the use of batons and tear gas. "The secretary is sorry for the misunderstanding that this could have caused," the spokesman added.

8.10pm: Students taking part in the protests have voiced fears that the masses on the streets have been infiltrated by undercover police. One student was heard urging others not to respond to any provocation.

"Be calm, don't argue and be peaceful. We should remain peaceful to not give any reasons for the government to intervene," the student said.

A number of older people seem to be joining the crowds on the streets, possibly as a result of the force used on Sunday night. "The police exist to protect us," said one. "But in fact we are safer without the police."