New protest march planned for Sunday in Hong Kong

Protesters in Hennessy Road next to the police headquarters during the annual pro-democracy march in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

HONG KONG - The dust has barely settled following the mayhem at the Legislative Council (LegCo) earlier this week, and already another march is on the cards for this Sunday (July 7).

It will begin at Salisbury Gardens in the city's Tsim Sha Tsui area in the afternoon, and head towards West Kowloon Railway Station, where high-speed rail trains from the mainland stop.

Like all the previous ones, Sunday's protest is targeted at a controversial extradition Bill that would have allowed suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to the mainland. The government has suspended the Bill but opponents are clamouring for it to be dumped.

Netizens said Sunday's march was aimed at sharing Hong Kong's values with mainland tourists so that they can take them back to "every corner of China".

They have called for the protests to be peaceful, rational and non-violent.

Meanwhile, a group of "Hong Kong mothers" have also called for people to gather on Friday at Chater Garden in the city's Central area in support of the young protesters who have taken to the streets for almost a month now.

So far, state-controlled media on the mainland has taken a largely negative view of the protests , painting those taking part as violent radicals.

Observers say Beijing has been spooked by the unrest, which comes at a time when Chinese leaders desire stability at home as it deals with external challenges.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has condemned the violent storming of the LegCo building on Monday, and police have targeted those who have broken the law. Several meetings scheduled to be held at the LegCo Complex next week have been cancelled.

At least 13 people have been arrested this month for protest-related activity.

Nine people - seven men and two women - have also been arrested for "doxxing" police officers or releasing their personal data online to harass them, launching cyber attacks on police websites and inciting others to commit damage.

Fears of a repeat of violence on Sunday remain despite the call by netizens for a peaceful march. Retired legislator and former chairman of the Democratic Party Emily Lau urged protesters not to resort to violence, saying that the storming of the LegCo building has caused the protest movement to lose both local and international support.

"I hope this realisation will make them think twice if they want to resort to violence," she said.

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