More than 30,000 people turned out in Hong Kong last night to express their support for seven police officers who were jailed last week for beating up pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang during a 2014 Occupy protest.
The tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated on the soccer field at the Police Sports and Recreation Club in Kowloon Tong. Many of those in attendance were current and former police officers along with their families.
While two years may have passed since the large-scale pro-democracy protests raged in downtown Hong Kong, it’s clear that the wounds left over from the clashes have not healed.
Protesters are angry at Hong Kong’s judiciary who they believe have gone far easier on the Occupy protesters than they have on the police who tried to maintain order during that turbulent time.
“This is not a protest against the courts or Hong Kong’s judicial system, nor an attempt to undermine the rule of law,” one officer told SCMP.
“It is a deep and heartfelt expression of genuine support for our colleagues and their families, who we feel have been unfairly treated and whose actions came out of a time of highly charged political emotion and stress.”
Last week, the seven officers were sentenced to two years behind bars after being found guilty of assault.
Back in October 2014, police officers were captured on camera kicking, punching and stepping on activist Ken Tsang while his hands were bound in a video that quickly resulted in the officers being removed from their posts.
Tsang testified in court that after he had splashed liquid from a bottle on a group of officers trying to clear a pro-democracy protest in Admiralty, he was arrested, had his hands bound behind his back, and was carried to a police substation where he was thrown to the ground and beaten.
After the sentencing, Tsang urged the police to apologize to Hongkongers and use the decision as an opportunity to reflect upon and review its own monitoring system, conduct and culture. Meanwhile, supporters of the officers have voiced their anger at the judicial sector and pleaded for the officers to appeal the decision which they believe is too severe.
[Image via Headline Daily]
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