Today’s rally in Chater Garden follows the sweeping victory of the pro-democracy camp in last Sunday’s district elections. “As Hongkongers, we need to continue using different methods to raise our demands with the government,” said one young participant. In six months of protests, about 5,890 people have been arrested, including 910 minors.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 500 young and elderly protesters gathered downtown Hong Kong this afternoon, showing that the demand for democracy knows no age limit.
Authorised by the police, the rally in Chater Garden was organised by high school students and the so-called silver-haired group.
It follows the sweeping victory in last Sunday’s district elections for the pro-democracy camp, which took control of 17 of the city’s 18 district councils.
One of the organisers, 64-year-old Tam Kwok-sun, hopes the gathering will keep the protest movement alive until all demands are met.
"I will volunteer to help our councillors understand what citizens think,” Tam said. “It’s important for the neighbourhood to be involved in supporting our councillors,” he added, “not just by voting but also by actively participating in the community.”
A 17-year-old Form Six student, who gave his name as Marco, brought along his textbooks to study during the rally as he had to prepare for upcoming public exams.
“Citizens should continue to join peaceful and rational gatherings even though we’ve already been protesting for nearly six months,” Marco said. “As Hongkongers, we need to continue using different methods to raise our demands with the government. The battle in PolyU shows just how ugly the government is because they just let young protesters starve and get trapped.”
Yesterday also marked the end of the 13-day siege by police of Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University (PolyU), which saw radical protesters pitted against riot police, with more than 1,100 people arrested or their identity recorded.
For days, police laid siege to the university, stopping supplies like food and medical care from going in.
The city as a whole has been rocked by protests since June over a proposed extradition bill, which was eventually withdrawn.
As the movement developed, protesters put forward five fundamental demands, including an independent inquiry into police brutality during the protests and the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, which Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced in early September.
Some 5,890 people have been arrested so far in connection with the protests, around 40 per cent students, including 910 under the age of 18.