Hong Kong Protesters Speak Out About Police Force
Hong Kong protesters held a "Citizens' Press Conference" with the theme "Rule of Lies and Bullets in Hong Kong: Police Abuse of Authority and the Trampling of the Rule of Law."
The Hong Kong protests were sparked in June by proposed extradition legislation that could have seen suspects sent to mainland China where they could face torture and unfair politicized trial. They have since morphed into calls for broader democratic reforms in the former British colony, along with the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and investigations into alleged police abuse of force.
Protesters at the press conference say the police's use of force has been excessive and worsened since June. They say that the police have forcefully oppressed anyone at the scene of demonstrations, including local residents, passersby, journalists, elected district council members, social workers and first aiders.
They discussed a schedule of upcoming events for the Hong Kong protests.
Hong Kong police say a total of 589 people have been arrested in the protests since June 9, ranging in age from 13 to 76. They face charges including rioting, which allows for prison terms of up to 10 years. Protests have seen police firing tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles, with demonstrators responding with sharpened metal sticks, lobbed bricks, petrol bombs and carts full of burning debris.
On several occasions, protesters have also been attacked by unknown persons believed to be linked to organized crime groups, while police took little action to stop them.
The central government in Beijing has so far has not visibly intervened in the situation, though in editorials and public remarks it has condemned demonstrators and protest organizers as criminals, clowns and "violent radicals" and alleged that they have been inflamed by politicians from the U.S., Taiwan and elsewhere.
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