Protesters denied Cheng face-off

Top News | Cindy Wan 28 Jun 2019

Hundreds of people demonstrated yesterday at the entrances of Justice Place to urge Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah to drop charges against arrested protesters and address other demands over the suspended fugitive law bill.

About 300 gathered at the west wing of the office on Lower Albert Road in Central at about 10am, shouting slogans and calling for Cheng to come out and respond to their demands.

"No extradition bill! Condemn police violence! Release the arrested protesters!" they chanted.

Cheng was reportedly inside, but did not come out.

Government employees left the building in batches in the afternoon, but none of them was willing to say if they had been let off work early.

The double-lane Lower Albert Road was occupied by protesters at noon as more people joined in. Police tape was used to cordon off the road to stop protesters from spilling over onto other roads.

Members of pro-democracy Demosisto confronted police to demand that they pull back and make way for protesters to shout slogans at the main entrance.

A police commander accused Demosisto of trespassing and ordered his subordinate to hold a warning banner telling people not to cross the police cordon.

After some minutes of confrontation, police eventually agreed to retreat as demanded. Officers were deployed to safeguard roads that led to Government House on Upper Albert Road, near Justice Place.

Demosisto secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung said the protest was organized by netizens, while he was there only to support the leaderless action.

A 16-year-old protester said he came to urge Cheng to drop charges against those arrested over the Admiralty clashes on June 12.

He said he witnessed the clearance process, which had been peaceful until police insulted the protesters and charged at them on Tim Mei Avenue.

"The police were immature and unprofessional. They escalated the tensions intentionally by teasing the protesters," he said.

He added the whole political storm was stirred by the government, and it is not fair that the arrested protesters are the only ones who have to face legal responsibility.

At about 1.50pm, a TVB news crewman was scolded and cursed at by protesters, who claimed the broadcaster was biased in its reporting.

A male protester used a flashlight to interfere with the cameraman's filming. The news team later left.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association later released a statement condemning the incident, urging protesters to respect freedom of the press.

Meanwhile, an open letter appealing to world leaders to discuss the Hong Kong fugitive law controversy at the weekend G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, was advertised in the British newspaper The Guardian, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and the online version of French press Politico.

A Hong Kong crowdfunding campaign that financed the ads said The New York Times will insert the open letter in an advertisement today in the United States.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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