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Radio Free Asia

Tens of Thousands Rally, Call on World to 'Stand With Hong Kong'

2019-08-16 -- Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Hong Kong's Central district on Thursday to call on politicians in the U.S. and U.K. to stand with Hong Kong, and to condemn police violence against the anti-extradition movement.

The rally, titled "Stand With Hong Kong, Power to the People," was in stark contrast to scenes of chaos at Hong Kong's International Airport earlier in the week.

Chanting "Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution Now!", which has become the shorthand for the five demands of the protest movement, protesters listened to live video of a speech by Brian Leung, the only protester to have unmasked during the July 1 storming of the city's Legislative Council.

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted but not abandoned," Leung told the crowd to thunderous applause. "Our hope for justice and freedom will never come to an end. Hongkongers, keep fighting."

"There is no way for us to go back and accept this rotten order, rooted in lies and injustice," Leung said. "However absurd this reality, this is our stepping stone to a better future. We build more extensive alliances and international solidarity."

Cantopop singer Denise Ho also addressed the rally, calling on Hongkongers to "use the power of the people to connect with people all around the world who are also fighting against authoritarian power."

"No matter who we are – civil servants, mothers – it doesn't matter who you are. As long we speak up, it will have an impact," Ho said.

In Melbourne, Australia, a pro-Hong Kong rally was disrupted by crowds of people singing the Chinese national anthem and hurling obscenities at those showing solidarity with the anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong.

"The rally is interrupted, the two groups are now chanting at each others," the HKTweets account reported. "HK supporters are chanting 'Free Hong Kong', while CN supporters are singing their national anthem and praising China."

"More and more Chinese showing their Chinese flag on their phones," the account, which uses the bio 'Stand with HK in our defense for freedom' reported, with accompanying photos. "They are chanting "Support HK Police" & 'HK separatists are dumb ass'. More Police backup arrived."

Death threats against protesters

Dissident cartoonist Badiucao posted video that appeared to show a China nationalist attacking an ABC news reporter in Melbourne. "He escaped after the attacking," he wrote in an unconfirmed report.

Back in Hong kong, activists seeking police permission for a mass march on Sunday were turned down on public safety grounds, although a smaller, static rally was permitted in the city's Victoria Park.

The group was hoping to organize the march in support of the five demands of the anti-extradition movement: the formal withdrawal of planned amendments to laws that would allow extradition of alleged criminal suspects to face trial in Chinese courts; an amnesty for arrested protesters; an end to the description of protesters as rioters; an independent inquiry into police abuse of power; and fully democratic elections.

Meanwhile, three student leaders said they and their families had received threatening messages including death threats, telling them to stop causing "chaos in Hong Kong," government broadcaster RTHK reported.

Pang Ka-ho from the Hong Kong University's Student Union Council said he had received messages on his Telegram account threatening to murder his mother and even the whole family if he doesn't stop "causing trouble". Foul language was also used in the messages, the station reported.

Baptist University student Zoey Leung said she had received similar threats via Facebook and a printed flyer near her home.

And Kex Leung, a student leader from Education University, said his home had been visited by strangers asking his whereabouts when he wasn't home, the report said.

Reported by Ng Yik-tung and Man Hoi-tsan for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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