Timid restart of pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong

Hong Kong riot police chased Sunday in several shopping malls and on the streets of pro-democracy protesters demanding independence on Mother's Day.

Groups of masked activists spread through at least eight shopping centers, playing cat and mouse with the police before being dispersed.

They demand the independence of the semi-autonomous territory and the resignation of the head of its executive, Carrie Lam, a faithful ally of Beijing.

The police made at least three arrests and imposed fines of 260 dollars for non-compliance with anti-COVID containment measures – 19 which prohibit public gatherings of more than eight people , according to the video images broadcast live.

Clashes continued on Sunday evening in the streets, the police using batons and pepper spray in the busy district of Mong Kok and continuing the arrests, including that of a pro-democracy elected official.

Hong Kong was celebrating Mother's Day this Sunday, and activists had called for the opportunity to criticize Carrie Lam.

This is a sign that the movement is coming back to life, we must wake up

– A Hong Kong student

At the start of last year's wave of protests, she had compared herself to an exasperated mother and activists pro democracy to rowdy children.

“It's just a warm-up, our movement has to restart,” a student told AFP on Sunday. “This is a sign that the movement is coming back to life, we have to wake up. “

Last year, Hong Kong experienced seven months of protests, often interspersed with violence, which mobilized millions of people.

Some calm has returned due to the mass arrests and the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But the financial metropolis having managed to curb this pandemic for the moment, limited protest movements have reappeared in the past two weeks.

Hong Kong began Friday to relax the restrictions that had been decided several weeks ago to fight the coronavirus, in particular by allowing bars, sports halls, beauty salons and cinemas to reopen, thanks to a marked decrease in the circulation of the disease in the semi-autonomous territory.