Distraught parents insist not every youth is a 'rioter'Local | 19 Nov 2019 6:04 pm
Parents of some students holed up at Polytechnic University have called on the government to stop labeling their children “rioters,” saying this is discouraging them from voluntarily leaving the besieged campus, RTHK reports.
The parents, who have been staging a sit-in near the university campus in Hung Hom, said it is not fair to classify everyone as rioters as many of them have not been engaged in violent activities and are simply trapped in the university. Anyone convicted of rioting faces a jail term of 10 years.
A masked woman, who declined to be named, said her son is a peaceful protester who went to the university two days ago and hasn't been able to leave since.
Another mother, who also concealed her face, said she is very worried as her son has refused to speak to her since their last conversation on Tuesday.
Reverend Pang, a pastor who is helping the parents, said many students distrust the police and are upset they have been delcared to be guilty of rioting by the government even before being charged.
“Don’t condemn them as rioters. Just encourage them to come out peacefully, safely. That’s what all our parents are concerned about. They’re willing to die on campus but not [be] condemned, controlled or arrested by the police. They don’t trust the police and the government. That’s why I encourage the government and the police to regain our trust,” Pang said.
Other parents, meanwhile, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam – as a mother of two herself – should understand the young people's desperation and be more compassionate towards them.