'We have to stand up for our rights'

Local | 12 Jun 2019 4:49 pm

Hong Kong protesters said they hoped the blockade today  would persuade the Carrie Lam administration to shelve the proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. 

"We want the government to just set the legislation aside and not bring it back,'' said a protester who gave only his first name, Marco, to avoid possible repercussions from authorities. 

Another protester, who gave her name only as King, also out of fear of repercussions, said the protest was a watershed moment for Hong Kong's young generation, who face difficult job prospects and skyrocketing housing prices. 

"We have to stand up for our rights or they will be taken away,'' she said. 

Dressed in black T-shirts and jeans, many protesters appeared undaunted by demands to disperse from police. Protesters clashed with police intermittently throughout the day, occasionally hurling traffic cones and other objects over metal traffic barriers. Police initially responded with pepper spray, which was met with unfurled parasols as used in 2014 pro-democracy protests that became known as the Umbrella Movement. 

The demonstrators also appeared mindful of Beijing's growing use of electronic surveillance such as facial recognition technology to build dossiers on those it considers politically unreliable, with many donning surgical or anti-pollution masks to hide their features, as well as to safeguard against tear gas. 

Such protests are never tolerated in mainland China, and Hong Kong residents can face travel bans and other repercussions if they cross the border.-AP


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