|A relaxed atmosphere in Central tonight where tear gas was used last night|
This morning I woke up to find that main thoroughfares in Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Mongkok were still blocked by protesters. I was amazed and proud. They had slept on the asphalt all night! And police were slumped off to one side as well...My company bus was probably not going to be able to take us to work through the usual route, and buses from Kennedy Town that usually go to Causeway Bay and North Point were only going as far as Sheung Wan.
|Tons of people in the Sheung Wan MTR station this morning|
But once I got to work -- I and everyone else -- were all glued to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to follow what was going on. It was so hard to concentrate on getting work done and at lunchtime, all we talked about were the protesters and how the Hong Kong government and Beijing completely miscalculated the situation.
Just before lunchtime the Hong Kong government announced that anti-riot police were withdrawing in the hopes it would encourage protesters to disperse.
They did not.
They did not.
|Assistant Commissioner Cheung Tak-keung|
When asked to justify the use of tear gas, Cheung explained there were rules the police followed, and said there were some protesters who were "violent". When a reporter asked to name who gave the order, Cheung didn't answer.
"After repeated warnings, police used the minimum force in order to maintain a distance between the protesters and the police so that the injuries will be prevented," Cheung said. "We used pepper spray, the situation is [was] not improved, so that's why we used the tear gas."
He added, "In fact the tear gas did not cause the injury to people; people might feel irritated, not comfortable, so that they might cease their violent behaviour charging the police cordon."
Another reporter asked that with Mongkok full of protesters, why was there hardly any police presence there... was it because they were short of manpower? Cheung did not answer.
|Protesters all over Chater Road in Central and beyond|
In view of the latest situation, it is anticipated that main access roads leading to hot spots for viewing the fireworks display may continue to be seriously affected. Having regard to public transport arrangements and public safety considerations, the National Day Fireworks Display originally scheduled at Victoria Harbour on October 1 (Wednesday) at 8pm will be cancelled.
It is something to worry about, but for the time being, there's a party atmosphere at the protest sites, knowing the police aren't there to do battle with them. We shall see what tomorrow brings.