Hong Kong gears up for lunchtime rallies after weekend unrest

A protestor stands on a bridge near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong

"I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong", Trump said in a statement.

The gathering in Chater Garden probably drew Hong Kong's best-dressed protesters, and organisers have called on them to come out every day this week.

"We expect a phase one deal to be in place ahead of the unofficial deadline of 15 December, the date United States tariffs on another USD160bn of goods from China will go into force unless Trump cancels them".

"The government wants us to desert the front-liners and young protesters, but we will stick with them", rally organizer Tam Kwok-sun, 64, said to loud cheers from the crowd.

Pro-democracy protesters raise their hands to symbolize the five demands of the pro-democracy movement during a rally in Hong Kong, Dec. 1, 2019.

In the largest of the three protests, a key thoroughfare along the waterfront on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour was packed with demonstrators ranging from hardened masked protesters in all-black outfits to families and the elderly.

Sunday's show of defiance by thousands of marchers in the former British colony follows skirmishes overnight between police and protesters, with tear gas fired for the first time since the November 24 district council vote and a man assaulted as he tried to clear a protester barricade.

Ahead of Sunday's rallies there were calls from organisers for people to remain "highly restrained" with fears of a return to the violence that has marked more recent months in the political crisis.

Riot officers fired tear gas and pepper-spray balls in clashes with some of the protesters. Protesters dug up paving stones and threw them in the street to try to slow the police down.

More tear gas was sacked at night after dozens of hardcore protesters set up roadblocks and vandalized some shops and restaurants linked to China.

Lam appealed for the current calm to continue but has refused to bow to protesters' demands, which include free elections for her post and the legislature as well as an independent probe into police conduct.

Some protesters returned to the streets Saturday night, using metal fences, cartons and bricks to block traffic in the Mong Kok area in Kowloon.

Those turning out on Sunday said they were determined to keep up the pressure on local authorities who have offered no concessions despite the electoral result. "We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing".

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

A protester wears an American flag scarf during one of the rallies, appealing to U.S. President Donald Trump for his government's continued support.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which the Senate and House passed, puts the special treatment that Hong Kong enjoys under U.S. law under tighter scrutiny linked to the extent of Hong Kong's autonomy from Beijing.

Pro-democracy protesters take part in a "March of Gratitude" rally on Sunday to say thank you to the USA for signing legislation that authorizes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in human rights abuses.