Saturday's rally was a moment for the establishment to muster their own supporters. Hong Kong's police are in the midst of a major reputational crisis.
The planned "million-man" march is seen as a test for protest organisers whose movement has been hit by a deadly June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilise support.
Police, widely criticised for failing to better protect the public from the attack by club-wielding men in Yuen Long, had refused to allow the march in the town on safety grounds.
This week authorities jailed President Vladimir Putin’s top opponent for 30 days and launched a probe targeting his allies but activists said they would not abandon plans to attend an unauthorised rally.
Hundreds of Sudanese demonstrated in state capitals on Thursday, putting pressure on the ruling military council to cede power to civilians in ongoing tumult since the overthrow of former president Omar Al Bashir more than two months ago.
Hong Kong shut four subway stations to head off an anti-government protest in a gritty industrial district on Saturday but thousands marched anyway, as China released a British consulate staffer