Striking photos show how this weekend's Hong Kong protests escalated into violence with makeshift weapons, water cannons, and tear gas

ReutersDemonstrators are surrounded by tear gas during a protest in Tsuen Wan, in Hong Kong, on August 25, 2019.
  • Hong Kong protests became violent over the weekend, nearly three months after protests originally started.
  • In a march in Kwun Tong on Saturday over surveillance concerns, Hong Kong police used tear gas, breaking a 10-day peaceful streak.
  • On Sunday, Hong Kong police deployed water cannons for the first time in a march to Tsuen Wan.
  • While most protesters were peaceful, some groups wielded makeshift weapons and street barricades.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests have escalated into violence on their 12th weekend.

What was planned to be a peaceful march over surveillance concerns on Saturday turned into chaos. Hong Kong police used tear gas for the first time in 10 days, while protestors wielded makeshift weapons, reported Business Insider’s Ellen Cranley.

On Sunday, another clash ensued in which police deployed water cannons for the first time and protestors threw petrol bombs and bricks.

These marches are the latest of several large-scale marches protestors have organised in the past three months, when the movement began to push off an extradition bill that has since been suspended. Protesters have since continued their efforts in an attempt to uphold democracy. Efforts have alternated between being peaceful and violent.

Below, see how this weekend’s most recent Hong Kong developments descended into violence.

In June, Hong Kong residents began protesting a now-suspended bill that would have allowed courts to extradite them to mainland China. Bill critics argued Hong Kong residents would be subjected to unfair trials and worse legal protections in the mainland.

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The protests then grew into a fight over democracy in the semi-autonomous region, addressing free elections and independent investigations into alleged police brutality.

AP Photo

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For the past 12 weeks, hundreds of thousands of protesters have organised several large-scale marches, the storming of government buildings, widespread strikes around the city, and the shutting down of an airport. Some have been peaceful, others violent.

AP Photo/Kin CheungA protester in Hong Kong International Airport holds a sign apologizing to travellers.

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In recent weeks, China has toughened its crackdown on those it deems supportive of the unrest. Experts say it’s part of China’s strategy to intimidate and spread disinformation in response to the pro-democracy protests, which show no sign of slowing.

AP Photo/Kin CheungA protester in rain coat wears a sign which reads ‘Protect Hong Kong’ during a march in Hong Kong on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019.

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The protests were had a peaceful streak for the past two weeks, but they escalated into violence on their 12th consecutive weekend.

Anthony Kwan/Getty ImagesProtesters standoff with police during a clash at an anti-government rally in Tsuen Wan.

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A peaceful march was planned for Saturday to protest against government-installed “smart lampposts,” which the Hong Kong government said only collect data on traffic, weather, and air quality. However, the lampposts sparked concerns among residents over state surveillance.

SOPA Images/Getty ImagesProtesters march through Kwon Tung on August 24.

Source: AP

“Hong Kong people’s private information is already being extradited to China,” organiser Ventus Lau told the Associated Press ahead of the procession. “We have to be very concerned.”

SOPA Images/Getty Images

Source: AP

The march occurred in Kwun Tong at 1 p.m. Around 2:30 p.m., a group of protesters constructed makeshift street barricades and weapons. Police reportedly formed a defence line and urged protestors to disperse.

Anthony Kwan/Getty ImagesRiot police charge toward protesters during a clearing at an anti-government rally in Kowloon Bay district.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

The policemen in riot gear and protesters who set up the makeshift street barricades ended up clashing outside a police station and near a shopping mall.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

Source: AP

Protesters reportedly dismantled some poles with saws and ropes, shutting down streets and wielding slingshots, poles, iron bars, and bricks in a fight with police.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty ImagesProtesters stand off against riot police during the anti-government rally in Kowloon Bay.

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Police fired pepper spray and tear gas, breaking a 10-day streak of no tear gas and adding to the 1,800 canisters police said they have fired in the clashes since the movement’s actions first emerged in June.

Tyrone Siu/ReutersA demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister as they clash with riot police during a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24, 2019.

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Most protesters had dispersed by early evening, but clashes rose in other neighbourhoods.

Anthony Kwan/Getty ImagesA protester is detained by riot police during an anti-government rally in Kowloon Bay district.

Source: AP

The weekend’s violence continued on Sunday. Protesters began marching on a rainy day around 2:30 p.m. at Kwai Chung Sports Ground to Tsuen Wan Park, where more clashes began.

ReutersProtesters march on August 25, 2019, in Hong Kong.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

Protesters reportedly chanted: “The five core demands, we won’t accept anything less” and “corrupt cops, give us the eye back.” The latter referred to an incident on August 11, when a woman was reportedly shot in the eye with a beanbag round.


Source: Hong Kong Free Press, Business Insider

Protesters encountered police as they neared the endpoint, marked by makeshift roadblocks. Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan reportedly tried to mediate and ask the police to wait for protesters to leave, but was unsuccessful.

Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty ImagesProtesters in Hong Kong on August 25, 2019.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

Protesters threw at least six petrol bombs, sprayed detergent on roads to make them slippery for police, and threw bricks.

ReutersHong Kong protesters sling bricks.

Source: Reuters

Police deployed tear gas. They also used water cannons for the first time, directing them towards barricades and open space without targeting protesters.

ReutersRiot police use water cannon on demonstrator during a protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong.

Source: Reuters, Business Insider

The police force had reportedly purchased three Mercedes Benz trucks worth HK$27 million (roughly $US34 million). After months of preparation, they deployed two of them.

KAI PFAFFENBACH/ReutersRiot police use water cannon on demonstrator during a protest in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

A few Tsuen Wan marchers told the Hong Kong Free Press they hoped protests would continue into September, when there’s a planned class boycott among students.

ReutersDemonstrators are surrounded by tear gas during a protest in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press

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