Hong Kong protesters rehearse ‘anti-communist march’

Hong Kong protesters rehearse ‘anti-communist march’

Anti-government protesters demonstrate during a protest at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong, China, on Sunday. (Reuters photo)
Anti-government protesters demonstrate during a protest at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong, China, on Sunday. (Reuters photo)

HONG KONG: Thousands of people gathered in a square in Hong Kong’s city centre on Sunday afternoon in a pre-march assembly for a rally scheduled for next week that organisers describe as “universal siege on communists.”

The authorised rally passed peacefully under the watchful gaze of riot police who kept their distance from the event but patrolled the area in small groups. Organiser Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team said Sunday’s meeting is a rehearsal for next week’s march, which will call on the international community to sanction the Hong Kong government for not responding to protesters’ demands.

The often-violent unrest started seven months ago after the government proposed a law allowing extraditions to jurisdictions including mainland China. Although the extradition bill has since been withdrawn, protesters’ demands have broadened and are now focused on a call for greater democracy, with increasing anti-Beijing sentiment.

Sunday’s gathering followed a march in the morning by a couple of dozen people carrying China national flags in the border town of Yuen Long, where protesters were attacked in a train station after a rally on July 21 last year. The morning procession made its way to the local police station where they demanded the arrest of pro-democracy legislator Lam Cheuk-ting whom they accused of inciting the violence in Yuen Long.

On Saturday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam visited the wife of a construction worker who was set on fire in a clash with demonstrators in November. Lam said in a post on her Facebook page that she delivered a HK$300,000 (1.2 million baht) donation from trade unions to the injured man’s family. She wished the victim, who is still in hospital, a full recovery.

Later on Saturday, a 15-year-old girl was arrested for criminal damage outside the British Consulate in the city centre, police said. The girl drew graffiti on a road divider, according to an emailed statement from police.

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