A woman was stripped naked in a search; another was dragged half-naked; others given offensive slurs. The August 31 demonstration is in doubt: the police fear violence. Tanks in the streets of Hong Kong: for Xinhua this is routine.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least 30,000 people attended a rally in Central last night to protest the sexual violence that police allegedly married out against anti-extradition demonstrators, particularly women (photos 1 and 2).
The participants wore a purple bow as a sign of solidarity. The organizers say that during the demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong in recent weeks, the police have often humiliated women to inhibit their participation in the movement.
In one case, the police are accused of completely stripping a woman demonstrator during a search at a police station. In another case, a video shows a half-naked woman being dragged away by policemen in Tin Shui Wai. In another, some women accuse the police of having insulted them with offensive slurs.
According to a survey conducted on August 21, since the beginning of the anti-extradition protests last June, 46 out of 221 women reported having been sexually abused; 23 of them accuse policemen or members of the police. Yesterday's rally was meant to be ideally linked with the international "Me too" movement, against violence against women.
A few hours before the rally, superintendent John Tse Chun-chung defended the police, saying that it has specific policies to protect the rights of prisoners.
The gathering ended peacefully, with an invitation to participate in the march on August 31, organized by the Civil Front for Human Rights.
Meanwhile, rumors are spreading that the police will not give permission for this march due to fears of violence. Another rally organized by the Front, on August 18, brought together 1.7 million people and took place in a peaceful manner.
This morning, the local media report photos of trucks and tanks in the streets of Hong Kong (photo 3). The photos were taken before dawn.
Xinhua immediately specified that the movement of troops, at 4 this morning, is due to an annual rotation of the personnel and the garrison vehicles of the Chinese army stationed in Hong Kong.
Many people and experts fear that the demonstrations that have been going on in the territory for 12 weeks, could provoke a military intervention by Beijing, in a remake of the Tiananmen massacre.