All eyes on message aimed at brutality

Top News | Cindy Wan 19 Aug 2019

Some 40,000 people held eyeball-shaped balloons at Victoria Park "to protest brutality."

A group of 10 protesters prepared the balloons to focus attention on a young woman losing her right eye after being shot by a suspected beanbag round by police in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 11.

"An eye for an eye! Police are lying and hiding the fact that it was a beanbag round that injured the woman," a 40-year-old protester named Leung said. "From all the sources we saw, it was definitely a beanbag round, not a steel bead [shot from a protester's sling]."

He said police must have aimed at people's heads. "I don't understand why they insist they have done nothing wrong."

The man brought his two sons, aged six and eight, to the rally, saying he wanted to show support for the frontline protesters.

"The young people at the frontline have sacrificed a lot for us. Protesting in the rain is nothing compared with their contribution and sacrifice," he said.

Police have fired more rounds of tear gas than needed to disperse the protesters on narrow streets, and such practice has severely affected people's lives, he said.

"I don't think protesters' violence is comparable to the government's oppression," he said, reiterating calls for an independent inquiry commission into the handling of protests.

He also criticized the government for ignoring people's voices. "The rally hasn't even started, but the government has already stated it regretted the rally," he said.

Tong, 29, said he will not cut ties with radical protesters as the government has urged.

"I will always stand for the eggs, not the wall. The people are always on the weak side in comparison with the authoritarian government, which has the administrative power to put a halt to all these," he said.

Tong was not satisfied with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's stance.

"Lam said she has responded to the demands, and that people just don't agree with her response. I want to tell her she is not our boss or our mother. She is bound by duty to serve us, not tell us she is correct and we are wrong."

Chan, 30, said Beijing interpreted the protests in the wrong way. "For me, the slogan 'reclaiming Hong Kong' means reclaiming democracy and the rule of law, while 'revolution of our times' means putting back the city into our own hands," he said.

He said revolution does not necessarily mean overthrowing the state, but revolting against some bad practices.

Asked if he is concerned the People's Liberation Army may be deployed, Chan said "no," adding: "It's meaningless to live a life under the threat of oppression.

"We should stand up and voice our concerns while we still can."

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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