Thousands of people gathered at Tamar Park on Saturday evening to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the start of the Occupy movement, chanting “democracy now” and “fight for freedom”.

The rally, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, started at 7:15 pm, even though crowds were still flooding in from Admiralty MTR Station.

The front had called on participants to come in through Tim Mei Avenue to avoid clashing with the police on the Admiralty Centre footbridge. Riot officers had fired pepper spray at protesters there, even before the rally – which had police approval – got underway.

The event began with a video recapping the key moments of the current anti-extradition protest, which started more than three months ago.

There was footage of the protest on June 16 when two million people are said to have marched. The video also showed events like the July 21 Yuen Long attacks, and the police’s beating of protesters inside a train at Prince Edward Station on August 31.

The host of the rally said the most important lesson that the people of Hong Kong had learnt from the Occupy campaign five years ago was the need to stay united, adding that the unity of society has helped Hong Kong make history again and again.

Occupy co-founder Benny Tai urged people not to lose hope after months of protest, adding that each democracy movement nurtures another wave of action in the future.

Demosisto leader Joshua Wong told the crowd that five years after Occupy, the people have returned to the streets with an even stronger determination and they cannot back down ever again.

Wong also urged people not to forget those who had been arrested and charged during the ongoing unrest.

Protesters at the gathering chanted slogans of the anti-extradition movement, such as “five demands, not one less”, and “Hong Kong people, add oil”.

They also observed a moment of silence to remember those who have taken their own lives during the campaign, which is now into its fourth month.

The front announced the end of the rally at 8:25 pm, more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule. It called on protesters to leave via the harbourfront promenade towards Central.
Last updated: 2019-09-28 HKT 20:32