Councillors among dozens arrested at protest

Top News | Maisy Mok 29 Jun 2020

More than 50 people, including two district councillors, were arrested yesterday at a "silent protest" against the national security law in Kowloon.

Police arrested 41 males and 12 females for unlawful assembly in Mong Kok at around 5pm, including Eastern district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin and Mong Kok East district councillor Ben Lam Siu-pan.

"I did not chant slogans or do anything," Chui said on his Facebook livestream as he was stopped by the police. "I don't know what will happen next."

According to a post on a local forum Lihkg, the aim of the "June 28 silent protest" was to express opposition toward the national security law. Its online poster called for participants "not to gather, not to chant and not to stay."

The protest was supposed to last for two hours from 3pm to 5pm, starting from the MTR Jordan station and ending at the Mong Kok station.

Crowds gathered at around 3pm in Jordan and walked along Nathan Road toward Yau Ma Tei and people were still coming in at Dundas Street at around 6pm. A heavy riot police presence was deployed at 1.30pm at Nathan Road in Jordan.

Some participants chanted "See you in Victoria Park on July 1," "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times" and other slogans.

About three hours later a police officer at Dundas Street raised a riot gun as protesters continued to chant.

Police deployed pepper spray at 5pm on Sai Yeung Choi Street. Several people were hit, including a police media liaison officer and a journalist.

Officers also set up cordon lines on Sai Yeung Choi Street South and the cross section between Nathan Road and Dundas Street at around 5pm. Shops near the area opted to close early.

Blue flags were raised multiple times to warn the public to disperse or else "force" may be used.

On the Facebook page of police at 5pm, officers warned protesters to leave "repeatedly" and stop occupying carriageways as "such an act endangers the safety of the protesters themselves and the safety of other road users."

Meanwhile, independence advocate Wayne Chan Ka-kui, who has fled to the Netherlands, wrote on social media that he is not ready to die for independence.

"I am sorry, I do not hold the 'fight till death' spirit for Hong Kong independence. There's been enough death for this cause, including those of Marco Leung Ling-kit and Lo Hiu-yan," he wrote.

Chan, the convener of the Hong Kong Independence Union, was released on bail after being arrested for illegal assembly in Wan Chai on June 10 last year. He was supposed to report to police regularly.

He flew to Amsterdam on June 4.

Chan wrote: "Regardless of the international front and legal basis, the chances of Hong Kong independence are increasing and I know we will witness independence together," Chan said.

maisy.mok@singtaonewscorp.com

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