Hong Kong protests

Fresh anti-government rallies this weekend

Anti-extradition protesters have been sticking Post-it notes on the Lennon Wall in Yau Tong, east of Kowloon, as well as on another wall in Tai Po (above) in an effort to get their messages across.
Anti-extradition protesters have been sticking Post-it notes on the Lennon Wall in Yau Tong, east of Kowloon, as well as on another wall in Tai Po (above) in an effort to get their messages across. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Civil Human Rights Front wants independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality

Protesters demanding the full withdrawal of Hong Kong's suspended extradition Bill have called for further action this weekend and next as tensions continue to simmer.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which has been behind the largest rallies to date, announced yesterday that it is organising a march on July 21 to pressure the government into responding to the people's demands - particularly calls for a truly independent inquiry into allegations of police brutality.

Its spokesman Bonnie Leung said: "Last night, we had a meeting and decided we will commit to a judicial review of the police force to hold them accountable for what happened on June 12 and it will be submitted by our lawyer shortly."

She added that the Front expects to get a green light from the police to protest near the Admiralty government headquarters.

Protesters are also gearing up for marches in the New Territories and Sheung Shui today, and in Sha Tin tomorrow.

Last night, a small group of anti-extradition protesters gathered at the Lennon Wall in Yau Tong, east of Kowloon, to plaster Post-it notes on a large sheet of paper taped to two pillars in an effort to get their messages across.

In recent days, pro-government groups have argued over the move to cover walls across the city with anti-government slogans and posts that urge demonstrators to fight on.

On Thursday night in Tai Po, brawls broke out after two men tore off the messages. One man was taken to hospital after hurting his arm. Elsewhere, a man was held for allegedly trying to set fire to a different Lennon Wall in Aberdeen.

Local media reported that a female volunteer guarding one of the walls in Kowloon Bay was verbally abused, while another, a male volunteer, was punched repeatedly.

Earlier yesterday, 20 anti-extradition protesters gathered at the government headquarters with banners and a coffin, in which they placed a photo of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Chanting "Carrie Lam step down", they wheeled the coffin to the leader's office in Lung Wo Road where 2m-tall barricades blocked their access.

An elderly protester who refused to be named said: "If there's true freedom, why do you have all these protests? The government is too much. It has gone overboard."

Asked if his friends or family would emigrate to escape the system, the man, who said he was over 70 years old, said that those who could leave have already left.

"I will stay to fight for Hong Kong. Hong Kong is now at the forefront of the fight for democracy against the Chinese Communist Party."

The developments come a month after the violent June 12 protests - described as a "riot" by police chief Stephen Lo. Protesters have rebuffed Mrs Lam's peace offering made earlier this week.

Tensions peaked on June 12, as the extradition Bill was due to be read a second time in the Legislative Council, with violent clashes erupting and the police firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Dozens were injured and arrested.

Protesters are demanding that the government give in to their five conditions - scrap the Bill fully and not just suspend it indefinitely; retract the riot label attached to the June 12 protest; release all protesters arrested so far; conduct an inquiry into allegations of police brutality; and, for universal suffrage.

Mrs Lam on Tuesday stressed that the highly-controversial extradition Bill "has died a natural death", but her remarks were rebuffed by the opposition and student leaders.

The Bill would allow criminal suspects to be transferred from Hong Kong to other jurisdictions for prosecution, including to China, where protesters fear their rights might be ignored.

Mrs Lam has made it clear that amnesty will not be granted to protesters who broke the law, adding that her government had not put a label on June 12 and that even if there was one, it would not have an impact on prosecutorial decisions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'Fresh anti-government rallies this weekend'. Print Edition | Subscribe