Organisers estimated some 800,000 people snaked for hours through the financial hub’s main island as the protests marked six months, a vivid illustration of the hostility that still seethes towards the government after half a year of unrest.
The city’s police force, which historically gives lower crowd turnout figures, told local media 183,000 people attended at the peak, still one of their highest estimates in months.
The rally received rare police permission and came two weeks after pro-establishment parties got a drubbing in local elections, shattering government claims that a “silent majority” opposed the protests.
As night fell the crowds switched on their mobile phone torches, creating a glittering carpet of lights that stretched far into the distance, their chants bouncing off the towering skyscrapers above.
Many of the black-clad attendees voiced anger and frustration that chief executive Carrie Lam and Beijing have ruled out any further concessions despite the landslide election defeat.