Tens of Thousands Rally in Hong Kong Before China’s National Holiday – The New York Times

Ahead of Saturday’s rally, hundreds of protesters spent hours taping posters and fliers to buildings, sidewalks, roads and footbridges in nearby neighborhoods, turning the area into a giant pro-democracy art installation.

Many of the posters mocked President Xi Jinping of China, with some depicting him as the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh, a meme that the Communist Party’s censors have deemed subversive on the Chinese mainland.

Alexis Wong, a 15-year-old protester who was taping down one of the Winnie the Pooh posters, said it was an important act of rebellion against a leader who directly threatened Hong Kong’s vaunted freedoms.

“We want people to see these, especially those from mainland China,” she said. “If they put these on the street back home, they would end up in jail.”

At one point, a young man from mainland China with a roller suitcase played the Chinese national anthem on his phone and scowled as he took in the fliers. He kicked at some of them, tearing one slightly, but stopped after he was yelled at by passers-by.

Later in the evening, a skirmish ensued at Tamar Park after a man raised a Chinese flag near the rally’s main stage. He was quickly subdued and ushered out, as people jeered at him and the crowd roared, “Free China, free Hong Kong.”

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