HONG KONG: Chaos engulfed Hong Kong on Saturday (Aug 31) as police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters who set large fires and threw petrol bombs, defying a ban on rallying - and mounting threats from China - to take to the streets for a 13th straight weekend.
Rallies started peacefully in the afternoon. Tens of thousands of protesters - many in their signature black T-shirts and under a colourful canopy of umbrellas - defied the order to march, chanting "reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times".
Tensions rose as the afternoon wore on, as police fired a water cannon and rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters massed in front of the city's parliament.
The crowd briefly broke through the barrier outside the building, but were repelled by tear gas and jets of blue-coloured liquid fired from the water cannon.
Local media reported that the blue spray is aimed to make it easier to identify suspects.
Protesters were in defiant mood throughout Saturday, which marked the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of a call for universal suffrage for Hong Kong that sparked the 79-day "Umbrella Movement" in 2014.
Riot police then marched on foot towards the neighbouring Admiralty district, followed by about 20 police cars, where some protesters had thrown fire bombs from flyovers, some landing close to police. Others shone blue and green lasers at police lines.
In the evening, violence ricocheted through the city's commercial centre, with a minority of hardcore protesters unleashing a barrage of petrol bombs and rocks at riot police.
Thick, black smoke swirled from a large fire started by masked demonstrators at a barricade on a major thoroughfare, moments from Hong Kong police headquarters. The fire was extinguished after burning for around half an hour.
The MTR subway suspended some services and shut station exits amid the protests.