Since Chow was Christian, mourners did not burn the incense or paper offerings typical of traditional Chinese memorials. Instead, the air was thick with the scents of fresh-cut flowers and burning wax. A heavy silence hung over the crowd, broken only when a choir led them in a repertoire of somber hymns.
Alex, 36, a mourner dressed in a front-line protester's uniform of all black and a face mask, said he was angry and sad. "But we've been angry for months -- for years. Tonight, the sadness is greater than ever," he said.
Later at night, police fired tear gas and a live round in confrontation with the mourning crowds. Some protesters set fires and built barricades.
Police also arrested at least six pro-democratic legislators late Friday night, some from in front of their homes, for protesting and trying to obstruct a legislative meeting about the extradition bill back in May. The arrests come weeks before a local election in late November in which many expected a sweeping win for pro-democracy candidates.
They set a dark mood for the weekend, in which planned protests will probably see a fresh surge of participation amid public grief and rage.
Alex, the protester, said he wouldn't confront the police Friday out of respect for Chow and his family. But he also vowed never to forgive the police, hinting that he'd be on the streets soon.
"I prefer to mourn on the battlefield," he said.
(Special correspondent Ho Kilpatrick reported from Hong Kong and Times staff writer Su from Beijing.)
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