Hong Kong extradition bill: Protesters march from Tsim Sha Tsui to West Kowloon Station to let mainlanders know what is at stake

Concerned that mainland Chinese tourists don't understand the reasons behind the anti-ELAB protests, groups are marching today in hot tourist areas

Susan Ramsay |

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Protesters cheer at the start of their march in Kowloon on Sunday.

Concerned that mainland Chinese tourists don't understand the reasons behind the Extradition Law Protests, groups are marching today in hot tourist areas.

Travellers using the high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and mainland China faced serious disruption on Sunday, as authorities tightened security at West Kowloon station ahead of another anti-extradition bill protest.

The MTR Corporation, operator of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, announced it had stopped selling tickets for journeys starting from noon, and only opened one entrance for passengers to get into the station and another for those leaving.

With massive water-filled barriers outside the terminus, passengers had a long detour just to get into the station, and had their tickets and identification documents checked outside the site – an unusual scene at a transport hub that prides itself on speed and convenience.

Mrs Leung, a local resident who arrived at the train station with her young child on Sunday morning, thought the arrangements were unnecessary.

“Rallies here are mostly peaceful,” she said. “It’s totally unreasonable. I feel like I have walked through the whole of Tsim Sha Tsui.”

Meanwile, throngs of protesters began gatherin at Salisbury Garden, carrying umbrellas and banners. Organisers tell them today will be peacefull and they seem to agree.

[UPDATE -  Sunday, 4.46pm]

The whole protest had not left the Kowloon harbour front before the head reached the West Kowloon station, where protesters were told to disperse. Along the way the crowd yelled at police to open both lanes of the road to allow marchers through. Banners still asking for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down, for universal suffage and for the extradition law to be withdrawn. Some banners mentioned the environmental protests going on in Wuhan on the mainland. 

While marchers were peaceful, there was one heart-stopping moment when a person appeared on top of one of the high rise buildings along the route. The crowd held up thier arms to say "No" and shouted encouragement. The person withdrew.

At the end point, protest organiser Ventus Lau Wing-hong encouraged followers to go to other tourist haunts and speak to people there. Whille there were some tourists watching the march, many claimed they didn't know what was going on, and if approached by journalists were also quick to withdraw.

[UPDATE -  Sunday, 5.41pm]

Some police cars left in range of protesters were given swift customisation to fit the occasion. Fliers in simplified Chinese were distributed to tourists.

Protesters at the China ferry terminal gave a resounding welcome to tourists entering Hong Kong. They sang the national anthem and encouraged visitors to join the rally. Others verbalised their message in Mandarin outside Chungking Mansions.

The black bauhinia flag flew from the flag pole outside the railway station. But the scene was a bit tense there as protesters were not dispersing fast enough. Organisers asked police to open more roads and begged protesters to remain calm.

[UPDATE -  Sunday, 5.41pm]

Organiser Ventus Lam says it is impossible to know how many people joined today's march, but he guesses it was hundreds of thousands. 

[UPDATE -  Sunday, 7.18pm]

Organisers put the number of marchers at 230,000.

A banner that puts a uniquely mainland spin on the marches says if Hong Kong becomes China, then everything will be fake. 


[UPDATE -  Sunday, 8.10pm]

Protesters are still occupying Canton Road. Other at the station shout insults to police and shine lazers in an officer's eyes when he tells them to leave.

[UPDATE -  Sunday, 9.25pm]

Prosters move from one street to the next in Tsim Sha Tsui. 

Joshua Wong Chi-fung is spotted among the crowd heckling Police Chief Superintendent Rupert Dover, one of the police officers behind police action on the controversial July 12 protest. Dover was spied on Canton Road where his officer had to form a chain to protect him and walk with him down to Sogo on Salisbury Road, where he was picked up by a waiting police vehicle.