Pro-democracy protesters on Sunday, held three separate marches to put more pressure on the Hong Kong government, and appeal to President Donald Trump for help and demand police to stop using tear gas.
Masked demonstrators all clad in black, carried American flags as they headed to the U.S. Consulate to express their gratitude to the US president for signing the legislation last week. The bill is aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong.
Banners reading “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong” and “Let’s make Hong Kong great again” — a riff on his 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again, were held by some in the group.
The marches came one week after pro-democracy candidates won a landslide victory in district-level elections. For two weeks around the election, Hong Kong’s protests have been relatively peaceful but feared it would turn violent again if the government doesn’t bend to demands for more democracy and an investigation into police use of force against the protesters.
Earlier in the day, a peaceful march by a crowd of about 200 adults and young children headed to government headquarters and chanted “No more tear gas.”
They leaned a pole with an American flag, while Chinese and Hong Kong flags flew on tall poles in front of the entrance.
“A lot of parents are worried that their children are affected, because their children are coughing, breaking out in rashes and so forth,” said march organizer Leo Kong, a 40-year-old social worker.
A third march was organized in late afternoon at the Tsim Sha Tsui district near Polytechnic University, the site of the last fierce clashes with police two weeks ago.
China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong by suggesting the city’s leader conduct an investigation into reports of excessive use of force by police.
The U.N. commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, wrote in an opinion piece Saturday in the South China Morning Post that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s government must prioritize “meaningful, inclusive” dialogue to resolve the crisis.
She urged Lam to hold an “independent and impartial judge-led investigation” into police conduct of protests. It has been one of key demands of pro-democracy demonstrations that have roiled the territory since June.
China’s U.N. mission in Geneva said that Bachelet’s article interferes in the internal affairs of China and exerts pressure on the city’s government and police, which “will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence.”
It said Bachelet made “inappropriate comments” on the situation in Hong Kong and that the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response.
Since the unrest broke, protesters have disrupted traffic, smashed public facilities and pro-China shops, and hurled gasoline bombs in pitched battles with riot police who have responded with volleys of tear gas and water cannons.
Lam has appealed for the current calm to continue but refused to bow to protesters’ demands, which include free elections for her post and the legislature as well as an independent probe into police conduct.
Hong Kong police have arrested 5,890 people since the protests began in June. (Source: Mainichi Japan)