HONG KONG — Protesters rallied in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon in a display of the movement’s continuing energy despite a police ban on the march and attacks on promoters.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tsim Sha Tsui, a crowded commercial district on the southern tip of the Kowloon Peninsula, to march to West Kowloon, site of an arts district and a high-speed rail station that links the city to mainland China.
They assembled along a promenade beside Victoria Harbor and chanted slogans while the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” was played.
The Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of large, peaceful marches this summer they estimate were attended by up to two million people, applied to host the event Sunday. But the police rejected the application, saying that such demonstrations have often been hijacked by vandalism and violence.
After that denial, the Civil Human Rights Front backed out of hosting the march, but one of its leaders, Figo Chan, and other pro-democracy figures called on people to turn out anyway.
“I’m not afraid of arrest, of jail, of getting beaten up or gashed,” Mr. Chan said Sunday before the march. “But I hope people understand that to fight for democracy, freedom and justice, we must sacrifice. We use peaceful, rational and nonviolent means to express our demands. We are not afraid of arrest. What I fear most is everyone giving up on our principles.”
Another Civil Human Rights Front leader, Jimmy Sham, was attacked by men with hammers on Tuesday in Kowloon. Mr. Sham is still being treated in a hospital and would not attend the march, the group said.
On Saturday evening, a 19-year-old man distributing fliers to call on people to join the march was assaulted near a subway station in northern Hong Kong. He was stabbed in the neck and the abdomen, and is hospitalized in serious condition, the government said.
A 22-year-old man was arrested in the attack. The local news media quoted witnesses who said the attacker shouted that Hong Kong is a part of China, and that protesters were damaging the city.
Chinese officials and the state news media have denounced the protests as a separatist movement. Some Hong Kong marchers carried Catalan flags on Sunday to show solidarity with the separatist movement in Spain. But while some protesters have called for Hong Kong’s independence from China, it is not a focus of the Hong Kong demonstrators nor one of their official demands.
The protests began over legislation, since withdrawn, that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China from Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s top leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, said in September that the government would withdraw the proposal, but public anger with the authorities has remained high.
The marchers on Sunday reiterated other longstanding demands, including an independent investigation of the police, amnesty for arrested protesters and the introduction of direct elections for the chief executive and legislature.
The organizers have also raised two newer demands: a reorganization of the police department and the scrapping of a ban on face masks.
Mrs. Lam used emergency powers this month to introduce the mask law. The move set off a wave of fresh protests and clashes with the police.
“I want to make best use of every chance to come out,” said Anne Chin, 32, a clerk who joined the march. “After the mask ban, we don’t know when the government will invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance again and implement laws that may further muzzle Hong Kong people’s rights.”
Demonstrators on Sunday also expressed support for Hong Kong’s ethnic minority communities. Some reports said Mr. Sham’s attackers were paid South Asian men, and people in the protest movement said they were worried that could lead to retaliatory attacks.
Some demonstrators stood outside the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Center with signs calling on others to respect the building. “Be nice to religion,” one sign read. At Chungking Mansions, a building in Tsim Sha Tsui that holds several South Asian-run restaurants and shops, volunteers handed out bottled water to demonstrators.
Protesters said they were determined to show that the movement still enjoyed wide support, even if the attendance had been dampened by police bans and recent attacks. Jason Wong, a 26-year-old office worker, brought to the march 60-foot-long black banners signed beforehand by residents in each of the city’s 18 districts with colorful markers, an effort aided by a team of volunteers.
“The government has posed many restrictions and tried to oppress the Hong Kong people but we cannot show weakness,” he said. “We need to show the world that we have many people calling for common demands, even if not everyone dares to come out.”
The Hong Kong subway system, which has sustained widespread vandalism from protesters in recent weeks, closed stations near the march route.
Protesters broke windows in multiple station on Sunday and painted graffiti over the protective barriers installed around the entryways. They also set up barricades on streets, prompting warnings from the police.
As the procession began, riot police watched and held up blue banners to tell participants they were violating the law. “Disperse or we may use force,” the banners read.
Ezra Cheung, Elaine Yu, Javier Hernández and Tiffany May contributed reporting.