Turnout record for July 1 marchTop News | Phoenix Un 2 Jul 2019
Hundreds of thousands of protesters joined the July 1 rally to demand complete withdrawal of the fugitive law proposal and for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to step down.
With ongoing clashes between demonstrators and police outside the Legislative Council, the organizers brought the rally's end to Chater Garden. But half of the protesters insisted on the rally ending at the original destination - the Central Government Offices in Admiralty.
They ended up occupying Tim Mei Avenue, Harcourt Road and Lung Wo Road.
The annual July 1 rally was held in the midst of controversy over the fugitive law amendment bill, which brought out big protests ahead of the handover march on June 9 and June 16.
ASI Analytics and Media used big-data system to analyze the turnout of yesterday's march and estimated about 550,000 people joined the rally.
The company said the turnout was lower than the two anti-fugitive law marches last month but it exceeded the 2003 record for a July 1 rally of 500,000. Police said the turnout was 190,000.
The founding chairman of the Democratic Party, Martin Lee Chu-ming, said the clashes in Admiralty might have deterred some people from coming to the march.
"Parents don't want their children to be caught in that situation, and most participating students don't want to clash with police," Lee said.
He also said although it was hard for Lam to continue with her governance, she could not resign if Beijing did not allow her to, and he called for Beijing to stop interfering with Hong Kong internal affairs.
The chief inspector of Central district, Ku Siu-fai, said police expressed regret at the Civil Human Rights Front ignoring the safety of people taking part in the rally.
He said due to the violent protest outside Legco, police had suggested the rally organizer make changes, such as postponing the rally, or assembling on the central lawn at Victoria Park, or to change the route and make the end point Wan Chai. But the organizer rejected police suggestions, he said.
Protesters started to arrive at Victoria Park at 12.30pm, but there were fewer than at two previous protests.
Before the march started, police said the protest might not end at Tim Mei Avenue outside the Legco building as planned. They proposed ending at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai.
The police gave the organizer, the Civil Human Rights Front, two other choices: postponing the march or an assembly at Victoria Park.
The convener of the front, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, proposed ending at Chater Garden in Central.
The police did not agree with that and Sham warned the protesters that they might be taking part in an unlawful assembly after passing through Southorn Playground.
Many protesters joined the march along Hennessy Road in Wan Chai.
Three human-shape props with yellow helmets and raincoats were put along the route of the rally, in memory of the three young people who committed suicide, leaving behind declarations against the fugitive amendment bill.
Many props also called on Lam, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu to step down.
Outside Southorn Playground police told the protesters to end the rally. But the protesters continued on. The police did not do anything.
As the rally arrived at Pacific Place on Queensway Road, about half of the protesters turned to Harcourt Road then Tim Mei Avenue, where the march was supposed to end originally.
They occupied all car lanes of the Harcourt Road and Tim Mei Avenue, while some also sat in Tamar Park.
Only a few protesters went all the way to Peddar Street as many entered the Chater Garden then left by MTR.