Thousands of people took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday, Dec. 1, in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators allegedly threw bricks and smoke bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month movement.

In the largest of three rallies, a key thoroughfare along the waterfront on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor was packed with demonstrators, from hardened masked protesters in all-black outfits to families and the elderly. They chanted “Five demands, not one less” and “Disband the police force” as they marched.

That rally followed two other marches earlier Sunday as protesters sought to keep the pressure on city leader Carrie Lam after the recent win by the pro-democracy camp in district council elections and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.

Riot policemen detain a pro-democracy protester during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, some driven back by tear gas, to demand more democracy and an investigation into the use of force to crack down on the six-month-long anti-government demonstrations. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Riot policemen detain a pro-democracy protester during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to Hong Kong streets, some driven back by tear gas, to demand more democracy and an investigation into the use of force to crack down on the six-month anti-government demonstrations. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)

“If we don’t walk out, the government will say it’s just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us,” Lily Chau, 30, said as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the march in Kowloon. “If we are scared, the government will continue to trample on our rights.”

Police estimated that 16,000 people attended the Kowloon rally.

Slogans spray-painted along walls and on sidewalks reminded the crowd, “Freedom is not free” and pledged “Victory at all costs.”

Un manifestante antigubernamental porta una máscara de Guy Fawkes durante una protesta en Hong Kong el domingo 1 de diciembre de 2019. (AP Foto/Vincent Thian)
An anti-government protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask during a protest in Hong Kong on Dec. 1, 2019. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)

The Kowloon march was cut short after riot police fired tear gas and arrested a few people. A police statement alleged minimum force was deployed after “hundreds of rioters hurled smoke bombs” and bricks.

Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas, shouting “Dirty cops” and “Are you trying to kill us?” Some protesters dug up paving stones and threw them on the street to try to slow the police down.

A pro-democracy protester shouts after being detained by policemen during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, some driven back by tear gas, to demand more democracy and an investigation into the use of force to crack down on the six-month-long anti-government demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A pro-democracy protester shouts after being detained by policemen during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to the streets of Hong Kong. (Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)

Hong Kong’s protests have been relatively peaceful during the two weeks around the Nov. 24 elections, but Sunday’s disruption indicated there may be more violence if Lam fails to yield to protesters’ demands.

Tensions started Saturday night after police used pepper balls against protesters and a man was hit in the head by an unidentified assailant while clearing the street.

Lam has said she’ll accelerate dialogue but has refused to offer any new concessions since the elections. Her government has accepted only one demand—withdrawing extradition legislation that would have sent suspects to mainland China for trial.

A protester holds a placard carrying an American flag during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
A protester holds a placard of an American flag during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)

Elaine Wong, an office worker who was at the Kowloon march, called the recent election win “an empty victory.”

“We have in actual fact not won any concessions for our demands,” she said. “We must continue to stand out to remind the government of our unhappiness.”

The two earlier marches on Sunday appealed to President Donald Trump for help and demanded that police stop using tear gas.

Pro-democracy protesters gather in a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, some driven back by tear gas, to demand more democracy and an investigation into the use of force to crack down on the six-month-long anti-government demonstrations. (Max Au/HK01 via AP)
Pro-democracy protesters gather in a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. A huge crowd took to the streets of Hong Kong, some driven back by tear gas, to demand more democracy and an investigation into the use of force to crack down on the six-month anti-government demonstrations. (Max Au/HK01 via AP)

Waving American flags, black-clad protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate to thank Trump for signing into law last week legislation supporting their cause and urged him to swiftly sanction Lam and other officials for suppressing human rights.

Some held banners reading “Let’s make Hong Kong great again”—a riff on Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again. One showed him standing atop a tank with “Trump” emblazoned on the front and side.

At the other small rally, a peaceful crowd of about 200 adults and young children marched to government headquarters in the morning and chanted “No more tear gas.”

Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights of emboldening
Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong by suggesting the city’s leader conduct an investigation into reports of excessive use of force by police. The back and forth came ahead of three marches on Sunday in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)

“A lot of parents are worried that their children are affected, because their children are coughing and breaking out in rashes,” said social worker and march organizer Leo Kong.

In Geneva, China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong.

In an opinion piece published Saturday in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper, Bachelet called for an “independent and impartial judge-led investigation into reports of excessive use of force by the police.”

Protesters carrying banner and American flags march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump rallied in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters carrying a banner and American flags march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019.  (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)

She also said that Lam’s government must prioritize “meaningful, inclusive” dialogue to resolve the crisis.

China’s U.N. mission in Geneva said the article interferes in China’s internal affairs and exerts pressure on Hong Kong’s government and police, which “will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence.”

It said Bachelet made “inappropriate comments” on Hong Kong’s crisis and that the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response.

Protesters carrying American flags march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump rallied in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters carrying American flags march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday,Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump rallied in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Riot policemen stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump rallied in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Riot policemen stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump rallied in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)
Protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)
Riot policemen stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Riot police stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)
Policemen stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights of emboldening
Policemen stand watch as protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong by suggesting the city’s leader conduct an investigation into reports of excessive use of force by police. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)
Protesters prepare to march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters prepare to march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)
Protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Protesters march to U.S. Consulate during a rally in Hong Kong, on Dec. 1, 2019. Hong Kong protesters carrying American flags and banners appealing to President Donald Trump are rallying in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Vincent Thian/AP Photo)