HONG KONG: Riot police chased protesters through Hong Kong shopping malls on Sunday (May 10) as activists launched Mother's Day flash mob rallies calling for independence and the city's unpopular leader to resign.
The city was convulsed by seven straight months of often-violent protests last year with millions hitting the streets.
Mass arrests and the coronavirus pandemic ushered in a period of enforced calm.
But with the finance hub successfully tackling its outbreak small protests have bubbled up once more in the last fortnight.
Small flashmob demonstrations broke out in at least eight malls throughout Sunday afternoon prompting riot police to rush in and disperse heckling crowds of activists and shoppers.
At least three arrests were made while groups of officers conducted multiple stop and searches.
Live broadcasts also showed police issuing HK$2,000 (US$260) on the spot fines to those allegedly breaching emergency anti-virus measures banning more than eight people gathering in public.
Hong Kong celebrates the American Mother's Day and protester chat groups had pushed the occasion to focus on chief executive Carrie Lam, a Beijing loyalist appointee.
At the start of last year's protests, Lam likened herself to an exasperated mother – and protesting Hong Kongers to demanding children – in comments that only poured oil on the fire of public anger at the time.
Authorities banned an application for a Mother's Day march so small groups of masked protesters instead played cat and mouse with police in different shopping centres, a tactic used frequently last year.
"This is just a warm-up, our protest movement needs to start again," a university student who gave his name as "B" told AFP.
"It's a sign that the movement is coming back to life, we all need to wake up now."
Lam, who has been staunchly backed by Beijing, has record low approval ratings.
She has resisted calls for universal suffrage or an independent inquiry into the police's handlingRead More – Source