By Lorie Ann Cascaro
HONG KONG — Groups of Asian migrants and youth expressed their solidarity to the Hong Kong people’s call for political reforms after police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters occupying the streets in Central on September 28.
The Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA, formerly known as the Asian Students Association) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hong Kong and Macau (BAYAN-HKM-New Patriotic Alliance) said they support the Hong Kong people and denounced the police attack against the protesters.
University students started the strike and class boycotts last week to call for universal suffrage to elect the chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 2017. The strike swelled into a bigger protest action as thousands of students and supporters of Occupy Central movement joined the sit-ins outside the government headquarters.
Some protesters have been arrested and detained since their first overnight assembly last September 26.
Last September 28 evening, policemen fired pepper spray and threw canisters of tear gas at the protesters.
Since then, they coined their demonstration as Umbrella Revolution because they used umbrellas as shields from pepper sprays while others wore goggles or wrapped their faces with cling film.
“The right of the people to assemble and protest is being wantonly violated; and activists for democratic rights cannot stand by and watch how the fascism of the Hong Kong government unfolds,” the AMCB said in a statement on September 29.
In the South China Morning Post (SCMP) report Tuesday, Hong Kong police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the police’s action last Sunday led to “some controversies”, and that he understood the difficulty of their task. He called the policemen under his command to stay “united and resolute”, the report said.
“Seeing the violence committed by the police, people from all walks of life have poured out into the streets and expressed their support,” Rey Asis, ASA regional coordinator said in a statement.
The group demanded from the Hong Kong government to stop the police from violently attacking the protesters and investigate on the violent dispersal and make the officers accountable for initiating or commanding the violence.
ASA also called on all its member organizations in Asia Pacific to support the people in Hong Kong.
BAYAN Hong Kong, the militant alliance of national democratic people’s organisations of Filipinos in Hong Kong and Macau SARs, said they sympathize with the Hong Kong people, “who in their desire to effect change and reforms are met with brutality and excessive use of force by the Hong Kong police.”
“As a people, Filipinos feel for those in Hong Kong who were at the receiving end of the brutality of the government and the police. We also suffered and we continue to suffer from repression when we call for change and for the people’s democratic rights,” BAYAN Hong Kong said.
The group said the Hong Kong people’s demand for political reforms “are rooted in the worsening economic condition that includes rising inflation, constricting social services, austerity, privatization and prioritization by the government of big business interests over that of the working people.”
The AMCB said, “The movement for universal suffrage has been gaining steam for the past years and is further being propelled by the government’s lack of effective response to the problems besetting many of the Hong Kong people.”
Meanwhile, students continued to call support for class boycotts and strike in their university campus, posting banners and sayings on the walls.
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions recently announced and called all workers to participate the general strike on October 1, the 65th National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Occupy Central earlier vowed to gather some 10,000 people to paralyze the financial district in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung said Tuesday Occupy Central ‘won’t change Beijing’s mind’, SCMP reported.