Thousands defy ban and march through Yuen Long - RTHK
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Thousands defy ban and march through Yuen Long

2019-07-27 HKT 15:47
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  • Thousands defy ban and march through Yuen Long
Thousands of protesters swarmed the streets of Yuen Long on Saturday afternoon, ignoring a police order for them not to gather in the New Territories town.

The protesters completely took over the main Castle Peak Road, referred to locally as "Dai Ma Road", as they marched towards Yuen Long West Rail station – the scene of last Sunday's vicious mob attacks on MTR passengers.

Public transport in the area was seriously disrupted by the protest action.

The MTR Corporation said Light Rail trains were not stopping at stations along the Yuen Long section of Castle Peak Road, while several bus routes were also being re-routed.

Many people vented their anger at the police who they accuse of failing to respond to Sunday night's violence. Protesters gathered outside the town's police station, chanting that officers are "shameful".

The force refused to give permission for the march, saying there was a real risk of clashes between protesters and villagers suspected of being linked to the MTR station attacks.

But it was already clear before the weekend that many people were going to ignore the ban given the political turmoil that has gripped the city as a result of the extradition bill controversy.

While some people said they had turned up for the rally, others said they were only in Yuen Long to do some shopping and even cycling.

Some of those who gathered at a playground that was to serve as the starting point for the original protest said they were there to sing Buddhist chants. Religious activities do not need prior approval from the police.

After the police issued a “letter of objection” for the planned protest, there had been calls online for people to gather to commemorate the death this week of former premier Li Peng. A photo of the late state leader was placed on the ground at the playground.

There was also a long queue outside a famous traditional bakery in the area that sells so-called “wife cakes”, and not far away, a counter was set up to hand out free cakes to passers-by.