According to the pro-democracy movement, police killed three people on 31 August 2019, a claim the government has refuted. Hundreds of riot police blocked an MTR exit. Because of the pandemic, groups of more than four people are banned. The health crisis is being used to stifle freedom.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of police agents in riot gear moved into the Prince Edward MTR (Mass Transit Railway) station to prevent people from gathering to commemorate last year’s police attack against commuters and pro-democracy protesters.
On 31 August 2019, police locked down the station for 4 hours during an operation that left three people dead, this according to protesters, a claim the government has always refuted.
The incident added weight to charges against the police that it used excessive force against anti-extradition protesters.
Since then, a rally is held at the end of each month and flowers placed in memory of the fallen. For many months, an altar with flowers and messages has stood at one of the station’s exits.
No rally was possible this month because of the coronavirus pandemic, with police banning any assembly of more than four people.
To get around the ban, some district councillors placed themselves near the station with fresh flowers, giving them to commuters, who in turn left them in front of one of the exits.
This time, police used loudspeakers to warn people against gathering in groups of more than four people. Around 5 pm, agents in riot gear were deployed outside the station, setting up a barrier at exit B1, to prevent people from placing flowers at the site.
Tensions are currently running high in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy and anti-extradition protests have stopped because of anti-coronavirus restrictions, but several groups think that they must be challenged; for this reason, they are planning protests at shopping centres or in the streets.
The pro-democracy Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) wants to hold a rally tomorrow, May Day, but the police have not authorised the event. The union is examining ways to demonstrate tomorrow without breaking the law.
Similarly, pro-democracy groups that each year mark the Tiananmen Square massacre (4 June 1989) are looking at ways to do so this year. For many of them, the pandemic ban is being used to stifle freedom.
Photo: Guardians of Hong Kong