By Sadie Robinson
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Million march in Hong Kong as movement grows

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Issue 2668
Protests in Hong Kong have entered their 11th week
Protests in Hong Kong have entered their 11th week (Pic: Flickr/Studio Incendo)

Some 1.7 million people marched in Hong Kong on Sunday as the pro-democracy movement there entered its 11th week.

Protesters occupied roads near Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s main retail area.

Other roads were blocked in Wan Chai, Admiralty, Central, Western District and Tin Hau.

The government complained that the protest “seriously affected traffic and caused much inconvenience”.

Demands include the withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent inquiry into police actions, the release of arrested protesters and genuine democracy.

Lawmaker Fernando Cheung said, “It is not as if the demands of the people are unclear.

“It is the non-response, or the response with violence and police brutality, that has caused so much disturbance.”

The protests began in June against the extradition bill, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China.

They have grown into a movement for more democracy.

Demonstrators have faced severe repression and violence. One woman had reconstructive surgery on her eye after being hit by a police beanbag round ­earlier this month.


But police claimed last weekend that officers have exercised “restraint, tolerance and patience” towards protesters.

Anonymous groups are also targeting protesters. Masked men armed with metal poles and sticks attacked people in a metro station last month. And several students say they have received threats.

At a student press conference last week, Leung Siu-yuk from the Baptist University student union said she had received a threatening Facebook message.

It included names and addresses of some of her family members.

“This is an organised threat to silence us,” she said. “But I know I have been doing what is right. I will not be silenced.”

Other students have received threatening messages and visits from groups of unknown men.

The Chinese authorities are also escalating their threats towards protesters.

China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, warned last week that China has “enough power to swiftly quell unrest”.

And China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police last week practised crowd control tactics at a sports complex in Shenzhen, a city near from Hong Kong.

Britain can’t be trusted

Some protesters want Britain to intervene in Hong Kong, arguing that Britain has a specific responsibility.

Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 under a “One Country, Two Systems” policy. This means that people in Hong Kong enjoy more rights and freedoms than those in China.

Hong Kong resident Greg Hodge wrote in the Hong Kong Free Press last week that Britain must protect this agreement. He said Britain must “stop idly watching and fulfil its obligations”.

Britain could and should immediately stop sanctioning arms sales to Hong Kong.

But the British state can’t be trusted to protect ordinary people in Hong Kong or anywhere else.

More than two million people protested against the extradition bill in Hong Kong in June—a quarter of the population.

Earlier this month, workers staged the first general strike in over half a century.

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions estimated that 350,000 workers took part. More of this, not appeals to imperialist states, is the way to win.


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