A large crowd of protesters gathered outside the venue of the first talks between Chief Executive Carrie Lam and randomly selected members of the public on Thursday night, blocking the road outside the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai and apparently preventing the CE from leaving.

Police warned them that they are taking part in an unauthorised rally, only to be ignored.

Some masked protesters started dismantling road railings and laying them down across Wong Nai Chung Road opposite the racecourse. Some put bricks and rocks at the entrance to the Wong Nai Chung Gap Flyover

Police did not immediately confront them. Instead, a group of officers got on their vans and left. The ones who remained stood guard inside the building, and by the car park where Lam’s vehicle, and those carrying other top officials who had been at the talks, were parked.

With the police playing a waiting game, the crowds gradually thinned out as the night wore on. Still, police did not take any action against the sparse crowd occupying roads outside the stadium.

The talks inside, which went on for two-and-a-half hours, went without incident. There were no disruptions and all participants were generally polite. Despite obvious differences in opinion, there were always a small smattering of applause after each speaker finished.

All 130-odd participants were required to go through security checks before entering and were barred from bringing in helmets, umbrellas, or other protest gear. Some of the participants were allowed to wear regular face masks.

Many people had gathered outside the stadium long ahead of the talks, with some forming a human chain and others chanting anti-government slogans.

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Last updated: 2019-09-26 HKT 23:49