Hundreds in Hong Kong attended a rally on Monday night to honor those who were killed and injured during seven months of demonstrations.
It was the last rally officially approved by the police for the year, although more unlicensed demonstrations are certain to continue throughout New Year’s Eve.
The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported the rally featured all the greatest hits of the protest movement: masks, the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong, and chants of “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “Five demands, not one less.”
HKFP ran through a list of the protesters memorialized at the rally:
On June 15, 35-year-old Marco Leung fell from height while protesting at Pacific Place mall in Admiralty. Lo Hiu-yan, a 21-year-old female Education University student, fell to her death from a Fanling housing estate two weeks later after leaving a message about the extradition bill. And Chan Yin-lam, a 15-year-old Hong Kong Design Institute student, was last seen on September 19. Her naked body was found in waters near Yau Tong three days later.
Most recently, Alex Chow Tsz-lok – a 22-year-old Hong Kong University of Science and Technology student – succumbed to serious injuries he sustained from a one-storey fall from a Tseung Kwan O car park in late October. The incident occurred as police were dispersing protesters nearby, though the cause of his fall remains unclear.
“I hope to mourn for the lost freedom and democracy of Hong Kong that has lost its freedom,” said the young organizer of the rally, who preferred to be known by the name “Shrimp Dumpling.”
“Protesters were injured physically. Hong Kong people were injured psychologically,” he said. “But we will persist.”
Critics of the protest movement point to incidents of violence and vandalism perpetrated by demonstrators. On Tuesday the police arrested three men in their mid-30s on charges of using a drain cover to assault a 53-year-old man who was attempting to clear protest roadblocks in early December. Seven other suspects were arrested for unlawful assembly, arson, and assault in separate cases.
As New Year’s Day arrived in Hong Kong, riot police deployed tear gas and water cannons in the particularly restless Mong Kok district, while protesters threw firebombs. As in some previous incidents, the “water cannons” reportedly dispensed water mixed with some sort of “peppery” chemical agent that triggered illness and convulsions in some of the people exposed to it. Thousands of demonstrators lit up their mobile phones and chanted protest slogans as midnight approached.