Hong Kong Protesters Remain on Streets
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters turned parts of Hong Kong into a massive street party on Monday night, with the mood turning festive just a day after riot police fired tear gas in ugly clashes.
The huge crowds defied government calls to go home after Sunday's chaotic scenes, bringing key districts of the Asian financial hub to a standstill as they vowed to stay put until the Chinese government grants them free elections.
Sunday's violence saw riot police fire clouds of tear gas as they struggled to control the protesters, in one of the biggest ever challenges to Beijing's rule of the semi-autonomous city, Al Jazeera reported.
The anger gave way to a lighter atmosphere on Monday night as riot police retreated, leaving huge masses of protesters in control of at least four major thoroughfares around the city.
Although there were few police on the scene, some protesters feared a repeat of Sunday's clashes, donning goggles and masks to protect themselves against tear gas.
The demonstrators are furious over last month's announcement by Beijing that while it will allow the city's next leader to be elected in 2017, it will insist on picking the candidates, with critics branding the move a "fake democracy".
Public anger over rampant inequality is also at its highest in years in a city once renowned for its stability.
Cantonese pop music filled the air during the second day of what some are dubbing the "umbrella revolution", as protesters have been using the canopies as shields against tear gas and the scorching sun alike.
The crowds hoisted up a makeshift copy of the "goddess of democracy" statue that graced the 1989 protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, while lamp posts were adorned with yellow ribbons - which, like the umbrella, have become a symbol of the movement.