World

Mid-Autumn Festival lantern protests to light up Hong Kong

HONG KONG: Hong Kong activists will combine pro-democracy protests with lantern celebrations marking the Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend after a brief lull in sometimes violent demonstrations which have rocked the Chinese-ruled city since June.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, which is today this year, is a harvest celebration throughout the Chinese-speaking world and in the East and South-east Asia.

It is celebrated with mooncakes, gazing at the full moon and colourful lantern displays.

Protesters plan a series of lantern-carrying human chains and sit-ins at MTR shopping malls and on the scenic Victoria Peak, popular with mainland tour groups, and on Lion Rock, separating the New Territories from the Kowloon peninsula.

There were some lunchtime scuffles yesterday between pro-Beijing and anti-Hong Kong government supporters in the mall of the IFC, a prominent skyscraper on the newly reclaimed Central waterfront. Some top-brand stores briefly closed.

Anti-government protesters gathered there again after office hours, chanting "Five demands, not one less" and "add oil, Hong Kong people", meaning to keep drawing strength.

Yesterday, dozens also turned out for a protest outside the Prince Edward MTR metro station to mark the night of Aug 31, when police were caught on CCTV beating protesters on a train as they cowered on the floor.

The MTR has since become a prime target of vandalism.

Protesters also plan to gather outside the British consulate on Sunday to make sure China honours the Sino-British Joint Declaration which was signed in 1984, laying out the former British colony's future after its handover to China in 1997.

Police yesterday denied the Civil Human Rights Front permission for a mass downtown march on Sunday. - REUTERS

WORLD