In Hong Kong, thousands of pro-democracy protesters defied a police ban on rallying today, a day after several leading activists and lawmakers were arrested in a sweeping crackdown.
Police banned a planned demonstration on security grounds after last weekend saw some of the most violent clashes in three months of political turmoil but nevertheless warned residents to expect severe disruption.
Police erected fresh barricades near the highly guarded Liason Office — the department that represents China’s central government — and water cannon were driven onto the streets in anticipation of renewed clashes.
By early afternoon, a few thousand protesters in their signature black t-shirts had filled an outdoor sports ground in the city centre, with some marching through surrounding streets.
In an attempt to sidestep the protest ban, crowds carried crosses after calling on protesters to form religious gatherings, which do not require the same stringent permission from authorities.