HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong protesters are planning a 24th straight weekend of pro-democracy rallies, including inside shopping malls across the Chinese-ruled city on Sunday, some of which have started peacefully in recent weeks and descended into violent chaos.
Protesters have also called for a general strike on Monday and for people to block public transport, calls that have come to nothing in the past.
The weekend starts with a rally on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and a “support martyrs” assembly, both of which are likely to turn to protesters’ demands for universal suffrage for the former British colony.
Candlelight vigils mourning a student who died after a high fall during a rally in the early hours of Monday quickly spiraled into street fires and cat-and-mouse clashes between protesters and police on Friday.
Chow Tsz-lok, 22, fell from the third to the second floor of a parking lot as protesters were being dispersed by police.
His death is likely to fuel anger with the police, who are under pressure over accusations of excessive force as the former British colony grapples with its worst political crisis in decades.
Students and young people have been at the forefront of the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets to seek greater democracy, among other demands, and rally against perceived Chinese meddling in the Asian financial hub.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing it colonial freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest.
China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.
Since June, protesters have thrown petrol bombs and vandalized banks, stores and metro stations. Police have fired rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and, in some cases, live ammunition.
Last weekend, anti-government protesters crowded a shopping mall in running clashes with police that saw a man slash people with a knife and bite off part of the ear of a politician.