Thousands of protesters, many dressed in black, occupied a major shopping district in central Hong Kong on Sunday, defying a ban on protests. The occupiers first held a rally to protest the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and force on Saturday. Police had earlier denied a request for permission to protest. “The police must prevent aggressive protesters from exploiting a peaceful procession to cause troubles and violent clashes,” Police Superintendent Louis Lau said, according to the Associated Press. Hong Kong has been ravaged by increasingly violent protests for seven weeks after legislation was introduced that would allow suspects of crimes to be sent to mainland China for criminal justice.