Since the initial rally on June 9 protestors in Hong Kong have kept the pressure on
Posted 17 June 201911:33 GMT
Written byOiwan Lam Global Voices
Despite Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s promise to suspend the legislation of the extradition (amendment) bill on June 15 after a series of clashes between riot police and protesters, nearly two million local residents continued to rally on the streets on Sunday June 16. They demanded Lam’s resignation, a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, and the renunciation of the labelling of the June 12 protests as a “riot”.
The Hong Kong police’s crackdown on protesting crowds with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bags on June 12 has left the society in a state of shock. Many question why the police authorities did not attempt to separate the few aggressive protesters from the peaceful ones, and why they fired rubber bullets and bean bags into the crowd without notice.
Ignited by Carrie Lam’s labeling of the June 12 clashes as a “riot” and her maternalistic comparison of the protesters to “spoiled kids”, thousands of Hong Kong mothers gathered at the Chater Garden park on the night of June 13 and slammed Lam’s cold-blooded support of the police’s violent crackdown. The mothers declared that their sons and daughters were no rioters, expressing their concern that if they did not speak out and act, their kids might be shot by police in future protests.
Many parents also joined the June 16 rally with their kids to express their support of young people. They displayed banners with slogans such as “Kids are not rioters”, “Students are not rioting”, “No shooting our kids”, and “Carrie Lam is not our mother”.
“We are not rioters”
Other protesters carried satirical signs that mimicked police warning banners to protest the police force’s abuse of power:
For hours, throughout the rally, protesters chanted: “Carrie Lam, step down!”, “Withdraw the China extradition bill”, “Protesters are not rioters”, and “Release the arrested protesters”.
At least 11 people have been arrested for the June 12 protests thus far, a number of them—including a teacher and an elderly man suffering from lung cancer who were shot with rubber bullets—charged with “rioting”. The maximum penalty for the charge in Hong Kong is up to 10 years imprisonment.
While the city laws inherited from the colonial era has made it easy for authorities to charge protesters with rioting, probably no one except the Hong Kong authorities would dare to label the anti-China extradition protest as a “riot” had they watched the orderly rally on Sunday June 16. A video from the rally shared by student activist Agnes Chow on Twitter showed how thousands of protesters gave way to an ambulance:
Another scene recorded by popular singer Denise Ho shows protesters coping with pro-China opposition trying to pick a quarrel by singing the Christian hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord”:
Christian protesters have occupied several locations near the government headquarters and Legislative Council building and been singing “Hallelujah” in front of police officers for hours since June 12, in protest against the police crackdown.
Ahead of the Sunday rally, public resentment against the Hong Kong government was further inflamed after an anti-extradition protester plunged to his death at a shopping mall in Admiralty on June 15. The 35-year-old had climbed up a building to hang a protest banner reading “No extradition to China, total withdrawal of the extradition bill, we are not rioters, release the students and injured, Carrie Lam step down, help Hong Kong”. A suicide note was found on him...READ MORE