A group of 20 pro-democracy protestors this morning marched towards Hong Kong’s Golden Bauhinia Square during its annual flag-raising ceremony, demanding “real” democracy. One legislative member involved in the protests was arrested near the venue, where crowds gathered to commemorate the 18th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Beijing.
Among the protesters was League of Social Democrats’ “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung, as well as members from April Fifth Action, a Hong Kong left-wing group named after the first Tiananmen incident of 5 April 1976.
LSD’s Koo Sze-yiu held an HKSAR flag and a burning image of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying while the group walked towards the Wan Chai venue. Police arrested Koo for “damaging the regional flag”.
The protesters began their march at the MTR station in Wan Chai, carrying a cardboard-made “grave” adorned with an image of the HKSAR flag as well as script reading: “Hong Kong’s Grave”. Group members yelled out demands to abolish the nominating committee and called for a “real” democratic electoral package after the government’s proposal for the 2017 chief executive election was voted down last month
The group approached another association whose members held up the Chinese flag on a bridge near the Immigration Department. The confrontation reportedly triggered heated debate between the opposing groups.
Lui Yuk-lin, also known as the Female Longhair, attempted to enter Golden Bauhinia Square with a stuffed pig toy, the face of which was decorated with a cut-out image of CY Leung. Police told her that they would only let her in if she dropped the protest materials, but she resisted, insisting that they were not assault weapons. She continued to protest outside the venue.
Leung said that he’d been snubbed an invite to the flag-raising ceremony for the first time since being elected as a legislator in 2004.
“The government’s refusal to invite lawmakers to attend the activities is to belittle the [Legislative Council] and constitutes political discrimination,” he was quoted as saying in an SCMP report.
On June 18, lawmakers in Hong Kong rejected in a landslide vote the electoral package which would have granted residents the ability to vote for chief executive in 2017, but only from a pool of candidates pre-screened by Beijing.
Meanwhile, a July 1 pro-democracy rally headed by the Civil Human Rights Front is meant to kick off at around 2:00 p.m. today. Participants will gather at Victoria Park before marching to government headquarters in Admiralty. Organizers expect that the turnout will be lower than in recent years due to the failed reform efforts.
Watch the news clip here.
[Images via Oriental Daily, i-Cable News & Apple Daily]
By Joyce Ng