Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong rallied on the streets in Central district on Sunday and called for the US Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
At noon on Sunday, protesters started gathering at Charter Garden in Central, singing the US national anthem and chanting slogans including “Liberate Hong Kong, resist Beijing!” and “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong!”
Many were holding the US flag and calling on US politicians to help the democratic movement in Hong Kong.
At 2pm, organizers of the rally read a statement from a stage. They said the Chinese government had violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration and undermined the one country two systems agreement in Hong Kong.
They urged the US Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act so the US government could freeze the assets of Hong Kong and Chinese officials and senior police officers, who they said had brutally suppressed anti-extradition protests over the past three months.
They also said Beijing should pay the debt the Qing government owed some US investors as the People’s Republic of China had inherited the sovereignty of Hong Kong, which was given to the British during the Qing dynasty. The debt was estimated to now be about US$1 trillion.
On September 4, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, said members of the US Congress “look forward to swiftly advancing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to reaffirm the US commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the face of Beijing’s crackdown.”
Democrats and Republicans “stand united” in backing the people of Hong Kong and their pursuit of democracy, she said.
The organizers of Sunday’s rally at Charter Garden received a letter of no objection from the police on Saturday, meaning the rally could go ahead. A lot of protesters walked the streets with their children.
Dressed as Captain America, Ar Leung told Asia Times that he would have joined Sunday’s rally even if the organizers could not get a letter of no objection. He said there were a lot of cases when riot police had beaten up and arrested protesters who were on their way home. He said he was not afraid of being intercepted by the police as his shield was not a weapon.
Tsui, who had joined a dozen protests, said the police had arrested a lot of peaceful protesters and local residents on the streets without giving a reason. However, he said he still wanted to take part in protests to show the world that “Hong Kong is not China.” He said the US government should sanction pro-Beijing Hong Kong officials and lawmakers.
Hong Kong’s Goddess of Democracy, holding a flag that said “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now,” appeared at Charter Garden.
At 2:15pm on Sunday, protesters started marching to the US Consulate General building. They raised up their hands, calling on the Hong Kong government to meet all their five demands, which include the withdrawal of “riot” charges laid against people who took part in protests on June 12, the setting up of an independent probe into events during the three months of protests, the release of all the arrested protesters and the implementation of universal suffrage.
On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, one of the five demands.
At 3pm, organizers of the protest submitted a letter to the US Consul. A large number of riot police were standing by in front of the US Consulate General building.
When protesters approached the building, they stopped chanting slogans and kept silent to show respect to US officials.
In an updated travel advisory for Hong Kong on Friday, the US State Department warned that its citizens and consular employees had become targets of a propaganda blitz by China “falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest.”
Protesters then walked along Lower Albert Road and returned to Charter Garden. A prayer meeting was then held in the afternoon before protesters left the site peacefully.
However, the MTR Corp announced the closure of Central station at about 4pm. Riot police arrested several protesters and dispersed the crowd in the station. Clashes were reported between police and protesters in Admiralty and Wan Chai stations.
But as evening set in, riot police were chasing groups of hardcore protesters who blocked roads, vandalized nearby subway stations and set makeshift barricades on fire, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested on Sunday morning for breaching his bail conditions after returning to Hong Kong from a trip to Taiwan.