08/19/2019, 10.16
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Demonstration of 1.7 million people: peaceful and without police charges

by Paul Wang

Even the day before, there were rallies without clashes or tear gas.  Jimmy Sham: Some protesters resorted to violence because they were frustrated by the government silence .  Before the rally at Victoria Park, a prayer meeting entitled "Hope in the desert", organized by the Hong Kong Office of Justice and Peace.  Another demonstration by the Civil Front for Human Rights is scheduled for 31 August.



Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A gigantic gathering of at least 1.7 million people took place yesterday from the afternoon until late evening at Victoria Park in the rain (photo 1).  The turnout was so great that the participants also occupied the streets near Causeway Bay, Fortress Hill and Tin Hau.  The police - which only measures the people gathered in Victoria Park - says there were 128 thousand  participants.  In any case, the demonstration was completely peaceful, without barricades, without clashes, without tear gas or police charges.

After the strikes and sit-ins of recent days, which often ended with fierce confrontations with the police, the organizers, the Civil Front for Human Rights, had asked all participants to be "peaceful and rational".  Originally, the Front had asked to be able to hold a march from Causeway Bay to Central, but the police gave permission only for the rally at Victoria Park.

A leader of the Front, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit (see photo 2), pointing out the peaceful nature of the event, reiterated the urgency of a government response to the five requests of the population, including the definitive cancellation of the law on the  extradition to China and the opening of an independent investigation into police violence and its collusion with the local mafia.  He stressed that some demonstrators have resorted to violence because they are frustrated by the government silence.  If the chief executive Carrie Lam continues not to answer the questions of the population, it woud be tantamount to "inciting new violent protests".

In the early afternoon, before the official gathering, a thousand Catholics gathered at the Victoria Park Music Pavilion for a prayer meeting entitled "Hope in the desert", organized by the Hong Kong Office of Justice and Peace (photo 3).  Then they joined all the protesters.

Yesterday's was not the first demonstration without tear gas.  The day before, Saturday 17, there was a demonstration at Hung Hom, which was also attended by mothers and small children.  In the center of the Tamar area, a pro-government demonstration took place without incident.  Only in late evening there was a confrontation between police and protesters in Mong Kok, but this also ended without violence. 

On the morning of August 17, a demonstration of teachers and students - at least 22 thousand people - took place peacefully in Central, criticizing the government for its indifference to answer the questions of the young people of the area.  Many student associations are determined to strike from lessons if the government does not accept the five famous requests.

Yesterday, the Civil Front for Human Rights, said it requested permission for another demonstration on August 31st.  The change of strategies in recent days and the return to non-violent demonstrations has deprived the government and China of the grounds on which they branded some incidents that occurred in recent days at Hong Kong airport as "terrorism".

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