Thursday, April 24, 2014   




Fast and furious

Colleen Lee, Scarlett Chiang and PhilaSiu

Monday, January 18, 2010

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Accusations were flying thick and fast yesterday as the siege of Legco finally came to an end.

After a weekend in which police pepper-sprayed fired-up anti-rail link protesters and government officials were trapped inside Legco, the last batch of five protesters left the Legislative Council area after finishing their 120-hour fast at 4pm yesterday.

Weak and struggling to speak, they smiled as they tucked into congee dished up by residents of a village that will have to make way for the line.

"I'm burned-out. I'm just really tired," said Wong Hin-yan, 24.

"A fast is not only used to cure sickness. We used it to cure society ... In the past few days many people gave us water and warmth. It was touching."

He said the wall around Legco not only separated legislators and the protesters but also totally blocked the government from the voice of the people.

The protest may be over for now - although activists are vowing to fight village evictions - but the recriminations are just starting.

And while Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said the violent behavior of anti-rail protesters is not acceptable, Executive Council convener Leung Chun-ying urged the government to learn from the controversy and beef up its consultation exercise.

Trouble flared on Saturday after Legco's Finance Committee approved the almost HK$67 billion funding for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

"I noticed someone hurled something at a legislator and insulted him personally. This is unacceptable," Tsang said.

"Government officials and legislators do their jobs according to the law. The legislators who voted for the funding represent the views of the majority. Those who oppose the project should not treat them as rivals."

A water bottle almost hit commercial sector lawmaker Philip Wong Yu- hong in the head as he was escorted from the Legco building to the Central MTR station after midnight. He was not hurt.

Transport chief Eva Cheng Yu-wah and other officials were stuck inside Legco for hours as trouble flared up outside with thousands of protesters surrounding Legco.

But the fight is not over, say activists, and many villagers will not leave their homes unless they are expelled.

Ho Chi-kwan, the spokeswoman of the Anti-Express Railway Alliance, said the sense of unity among the protesters will never die.

She also said she will do everything she can to support the Choi Yuen villagers' fight for their right to stay in their homes.

Leung, meanwhile, told a radio program that the government should learn from the experience and improve consultation procedures, such as using the internet to collect views from the younger generation.

He said the government could consider, for instance, the views that less land should have been acquisitioned and why so many people have different views on functional constituencies.

"The problems about young people's future, their work opportunities, social mobility, poverty, housing and widening wealth gap, for example, are questions not only the government should pay attention to, but also the whole of society."


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