The demonstration for the anniversary of the British cession of Hong Kong to China ended today in an unprecedented popular revolt in which hundreds of young people entered by force in the Parliament of the city and occupied it.
After midnight local (16.00 GMT) and after about three hours of occupation, the protesters left the Parliament once they confirmed the imminent arrival of the police to the building and given the seriousness that would entail for them to be arrested.
Hundreds of riot police finally left their barracks at that time in the nearby Wan Chai district and headed to the legislative headquarters from different directions.
The police then used tear gas and pepper spray to dissolve groups of hundreds of people who concentrated on the large avenues of the city center adjacent to the Parliament.
The demonstration had been massive, the largest of 1 July in the 22 years since the transfer of sovereignty to China by the United Kingdom in 1997, and gathered, according to its conveners, 550,000 people.
It did not exceed, however, the more than one million citizens who occupied the streets of the city on Sunday, June 16, calling for the withdrawal of the draft law of extradition to China and the resignation of its promoter, the head of the Government local, Carrie Lam, who still refuses to withdraw the initiative and only keeps it in suspense.
“No to extradition to China,” “Hong Kong get up,” was read in many cartels carried by the protesters, mostly young people dressed in black, who peacefully toured the nearly 3 kilometers that separate Victoria Park from the area from Admiralty, where the Parliament and the seat of the Government are located.
When arriving at Admiralty several hundreds of demonstrators went towards the seat of the Legislative and there a group of them began to demolish the steel barriers that protected the entrance of the institution and later to use them of battering ram against the doors of armored glass of the same one.
It was hard work. For almost five hours the protesters busied themselves-with iron bars, stones and all kinds of utensils-in forcing the doors and smashing the windows, hidden behind a cloud of umbrellas so as not to be recognized.
The people who arrived from the demonstration were also gathered before the Parliament and the adjacent Tamar Park with what at times several thousand arrived to add those who waited for the passage to the building to be crossed.
At no time the police forces, much criticized for their harshness with the protesters on previous occasions, made an appearance.
Finally, around nine local hours (01.00 GMT), they managed to break through two different doors at the same time. With prudence before what could come from inside, where they expected the police to be, at first only a few dozen people entered.
But when it became clear that there was no danger, hundreds of protesters began to roam freely at the legislative headquarters, taking furniture, books, paintings, papers and shelves in the offices or making graffiti on the walls.
“Hong Kong is not China”, “You have wanted it”, they wrote on any wall that the demonstrators were in their way in reference to the repeated refusal of Lam to attend to their requests.
The majestic hemicycle of the Hong Kong deputies was also spared the wrath of the young raiders, who broke video screens, pulled out drawers and filled the frontispiece with graffiti on the speaker’s platform.
Some opposition deputies also came to the parliament building, which, although they showed their rejection of the violence, stressed that the demonstrators had exhausted their patience after weeks of massive protests without the local government attending to their demands.
“We are in the most serious political crisis since the transfer of sovereignty to China, it is a situation of no return,” said the independent deputy and activist, Eddie Chu, who expressed his fear of an intervention by the Chinese Army in Hong Kong. Lam is not able to solve the crisis politically.
Anyway, what happened today in Hong Kong will mark a milestone in the history of the pro-democracy protest movement in the British excolonia.