Carrie Lam's hope that her new 'anti-mask' edict would help quiet the protests unfortunately didn't pan out. Rather, in retaliation, the protesters took to the streets on Saturday and Sunday in another round of violent clashes with police, the SCMP reports.
Sunday marked the third straight day of unrest and demonstrations over the mask ban - many Hong Kongers took to the streets as soon as the ban was announced on Friday and firms with a large presence in Hong Kong, including HSBC and Ernst & Young warned employees to work from home on Friday and through the weekend.
That proved to be a prescient decision, as in at least one incident, a group of protesters was filmed beating up a young JP Morgan banker who had the temerity to defend Beijing by shouting 'we are all Chinese'.
Anyway, according to SCMP, two groups of protesters, many of them covering their faces in direct defiance of the mask bill, marched on routes from East Point Road in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central, and from Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui to Maple Street Playground in Sham Shui Po. The marches began at around 2 pm local time (so about 2 am in the US).
After Hong Kong's entire MTR transit system was shuttered yesterday due to the vandals, protesters came together and caused even more damage to train stations on Sunday. At the Mong Kok station, a locus of violence and mayhem on Sunday, three black-wearing protesters smashed CCTV cameras, spray painted the walls and caused general mayhem. Others joined in and covered the station with graffiti.
The extent of the damage throughout the evening was severe.
Hong Kong police caught a lucky break later in the evening on Sunday, as heavy rains drove many protesters to call it a day and return home. As much of Sunday's unrest centered on the Mong Kok neighborhood, police brought water cannons and other crowd-control weaponry to a staging area in the neighborhood.
Earlier in the day, as one WSJ reporter in Hong Kong reported, protesters marched through Wan Chai chanting,"five demands, not one less."
Even though the anti-mask law purportedly exempts those who wear masks for professional or health reasons, Hong Kong police were seen harassing two journalists over their gas masks.
"Who said journalists can wear masks? Does the law grant you the privilege to wear a mask? Are you a police officer who is carrying out his duties?" an officer asks.
The reporter removes the mask. Another two reporters are also questioned by police. The same officer also goes to a girl wearing a mask and asks her to take it off.
After protesters on Saturday destroyed dozens of ATMs during a rampage across the city, the Hong Kong Association of Banks warned on Sunday that cash refills to certain banks and ATMs would likely be delayed a while longer.
Even as protests died down elsewhere in the city, a hard-core group of radicals in Mong Kok threw Molotov cocktails and police barricades and caused general mayhem.
In what can only be described as a creative triumph for the protesters (and one of the most impressive accomplishments since the demonstrations began), a handful of mask-clad demonstrators used bamboo scaffolding and countless zip-ties to build a makeshift catapult to keep the police at bay.
The catapult was situated on Nathan Road, outside the HSBC building In Mong Kok.
Here's video of them testing it out.
And from two different angles.
Elsewhere in the city, police continued their heavy-handed crackdown. Reports claimed that public buses were stopped and searched by police, and that young people found to have masks in their bags or on their persons were removed by police.