Hong Kong Protesters Plan to March Despite Attacks and Police Ban

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As violence escalates between demonstrators and the police in Hong Kong, protesters have started writing “last letters” to their loved ones, in case they don’t return. These notes chronicle the mental and emotional state of frontliners coming to terms with risking death for their beliefs.CreditCreditOrlando de Guzman/The New York Times

HONG KONG — Protesters planned to rally in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon, a test of the movement’s strength after a police ban on the march and attacks on promoters.

Demonstrators will gather in Tsim Sha Tsui, a crowded commercial district on the southern tip of the Kowloon Peninsula, then march to West Kowloon, site of an arts district and a high-speed rail station that links the city to mainland China.

The Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of large, peaceful marches this summer they estimate were attended by up to two million people, applied to host the event Sunday. But the police rejected the application, saying that such demonstrations have often been hijacked by vandalism and violence.

After that denial, the Civil Human Rights Front backed out of hosting the march, but one of its leaders, Figo Chan, and other pro-democracy figures called on people to turn out anyway.

“It is time for Hong Kong people to speak out,” Mr. Chan said Saturday. “When we can gather enough people, we will be safe and we will be able to exert pressure to the government. But if we don’t come out tomorrow, then violence will prevail and escalate: the violence inflicted by the regime, the police and local triads.”

Another Civil Human Rights Front leader, Jimmy Sham, was attacked by men with hammers on Tuesday in Kowloon. Mr. Sham is still being treated in a hospital and will not attend the march, the group said.

On Saturday evening, a 19-year-old man distributing fliers to call on people to join the march was assaulted near a subway station in northern Hong Kong. He was stabbed in the neck and the abdomen, and is hospitalized in serious condition, the government said.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in the attack. The local news media quoted witnesses who said the attacker shouted that Hong Kong is a part of China, and that protesters were damaging the city.

Chinese officials and the state news media have denounced the protests as a separatist movement. While some protesters have called for Hong Kong’s independence from China, it is not a focus of the movement nor one of its official demands.

The protests began over legislation, since withdrawn, that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China from Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s top leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, said in September that the government would withdraw the proposal, but public anger with the authorities has remained high.

The march on Sunday will reiterate protesters’ other longstanding demands, including an independent investigation of the police, amnesty for arrested protesters and the introduction of direct elections for the chief executive and legislature.

The organizers have also raised two newer demands: a reorganization of the police department and the scrapping of a ban on face masks.

Mrs. Lam used emergency powers this month to introduce the mask law. The move set off a wave of fresh protests and clashes with the police.

Reporting was contributed by Ezra Cheung, Elaine Yu and Javier Hernández.

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