Push to clear name of 1967 protesters

Local | Stella Wong 8 May 2017

A group is seeking to clear the name of those involved in the 1967 leftist riots, claiming the protesters were patriots.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the riots that left more than 50 dead and 800 injured, the 67 Synergy Group led 120 people to Wo Hop Shek Public Cemetery to pay tribute to those who were killed.

The group has been formed mainly by those arrested over the riots.

Former finance-sector lawmaker Ng Leung-sing and the Federation of Trade Unions' Michael Luk Chung-hung attended the event. It is the first time for the union to attend this memorial ceremony.

Participants observed a minute's silence and laid flowers at the graves of 16 protesters who died in the violence.

Ng said he urged Beijing to "review the 1967 incident" and that it "places great importance on the incident."

Ng said the riot was triggered by police violence and many protesters were beaten to death. He said the goal of the protest was to fight for labor rights, which is completely different from the recent social movements which targeted the government or government officials.

"Society should not compare or mix the two kinds of protests."

In his speech, the group's head Chan Shi-yuen said the protesters did nothing wrong. He described them as "heroes of the race" and "martyrs sacrificing for defending dignity of the nation," and who "generously fought for justice."

In 1967 - with the Cultural Revolution in full swing across the border - a labor dispute grew into large leftist demonstrations against British colonial rule, in which demonstrators clashed with the police. In the protests, 52 died and 802 were injured, including over 200 police. Almost 2,000 were arrested.

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