Hong Kong dissident calls for 100,000 on the streets
A leading activist yesterday called for 100,000 people to take to the streets of Hong Kong today - after protesters targeted the popular bar district of Lan Kwai Fong for the first time on Halloween.
Black-clad pro-democracy protesters, wearing banned face masks, mingled with revellers in the narrow, sloping streets of Lan Kwai Fong, prompting a swift response from police.
They fired tear gas to break up the crowds and were heckled and verbally abused. TV footage showed police firing pepper spray directly into the faces of two protesters.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was disqualified on Tuesday from standing in upcoming district elections, issued a rallying call.
"If more and more people, not only a few thousand, but if more than 100,000 Hong Kongers take to the streets tomorrow, it can let the world know how Hong Kong people fight for a free election," he said.
Anti-government protesters are angry at perceived Chinese meddling with the freedoms guaranteed to the city when it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Today will be the start of the 22nd weekend of protests.
Police said yesterday they had seized stun guns and bombs made from cooking gas cylinders in recent days. One man was arrested for selling batons and stun guns.
"The seizure of stun guns and home-made mechanical bombs is a bad omen," police spokesman Tse Chun-chung told reporters.
The protests have also hit the economy, with data confirming Hong Kong slid into recession in the third quarter for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008. Retail sales fell 18.3pc in September from a year earlier.