Hong Kong, Oct 20 (AP/UNB) — Hong Kong protesters again flooded streets on Sunday, ignoring a police ban on the rally and demanding the government meet their demands for accountability and political rights.
Protest leaders carried a black banner at the front of the procession with a slogan, "Five main demands, not one less."
Some front-line demonstrators blocked streets not long after the march began.
Police had beefed up security measures for the unauthorized rally, the latest in the 5-month-old unrest rocking the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Water-filled plastic security barriers went up around a rail terminal where the protest march will finish. The city's subway operator restricted passenger access to the West Kowloon train station.
Supporters of the movement gathered at the rally's starting point on a waterfront promenade. Many wore masks in defiance of a recently introduced ban on face coverings at public gatherings, and volunteers handed more out to the crowd.
Organizers said they wanted to use their right to protest, as guaranteed by the city's constitution despite the risk of arrest.
"We're using peaceful, rational, nonviolent way to voice our demands," Figo Chan, vice convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, told reporters. "We're not afraid of being arrested. What I'm most scared of is everyone giving up on our principles."
The group has organized some of the movement's biggest protest marches. One of its leaders, Jimmy Sham, was attacked on Wednesday by assailants wielding hammers.
Police on Saturday arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of stabbing a teenage activist distributing leaflets near a wall plastered with pro-democracy messages. A witness told local broadcaster RTHK that the assailant shouted afterward that Hong Kong is "a part of China" and other pro-Beijing messages.
The movement sprang out of opposition to a government proposal for a China extradition bill and then ballooned into broader demands for full democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality.