Protesters say cops using violence excuse to deny demosLocal | 19 Aug 2019 6:44 pm
A group of anti-extradition protesters raised concerns about what they see as Hong Kong's deteriorating human rights situation, pointing to police refusal for eight demonstrations over the past two months, RTHK reports.
Speaking at the latest Citizens' Press Conference – a platform created by some protesters as a response to the government and police daily press briefings – they said this means almost 30 percent of recent marches had been banned.
The Civil Human Rights front organized a mass rally at Victoria Park yesterday, and estimated at least 1.7 million had taken part. The police had objected to the front's plans for a march to Chater Road – but many people defied the ban and marched there from Victoria Park anyway.
A spokesman for the protesters, who gave his name as Brian Tong, praised the courage of these people.
"More than 1.7 million determined Hongkongers braved the white terror and stood out in the rain, upholding their demands just the same," he said.
"The thoroughly peaceful and orderly demonstration has been a most elegant example of the civil quality and wisdom of the people in Hong Kong who have lived up to and executed the philosophy 'to be water' beautifully."
Tong also took issue with the banning of public demonstrations, saying that international human rights law clearly states that concern for potential violence is not a valid reason to deny one's right to demonstrate.
"The UN Human Rights Committee also iterates in its report published in November 2018 that demonstrators should not be demanded to secure a formal permission as a pre-requisite or to promise to keep order, for these are considered excessive restrictions on the freedom to rally," he added.
A guest speaker at the press conference, Coco Kwong relayed how police had made unreasonable requests when she applied for permission for a march in Island West earlier this month. She said they had asked her to make sure protesters didn't go astray to other places after the rally.
Tong said protests will continue as long as the government refuses to respond to all of people's five core demands, including setting up an independent inquiry to look into police behavior and giving people universal suffrage.
Asked if protesters would continue their protests in a peaceful or resort to radical actions in future, Tong said he believes protesters will listen to the views of the people.