Hong Kong’s domestic worker community participated in a protest against the imprisonment of 16 local democracy and land rights activists on Sunday.

Last Thursday, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were sentenced to six to eight months in jail for their role in a protest that sparked the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. Earlier in the week, 13 activists were jailed over their participation in a protest outside the Legislative Council against development in the northeast New Territories.

Eman Villanueva of the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body gave a speech at the endpoint of Sunday’s protest in front of the Court of Final Appeal in Central: “There are more than 340,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. We are actually serving more than 285,000 households, and so I would say that migrant domestic workers [are] actually taking care of a significant part of the Hong Kong society… [W]e are not only here in Hong Kong to take care of your children and your elderly, but we are also here together with you to take care of the Hong Kong society.”

See also: ‘Morale boost’: Politicians and activists speak of renewed solidarity at Sunday’s march over protester jailings

Villanueva told HKFP that he had been informed of the march by the League of Social Democrats, and had joined the rally at Southorn Playground.

“Some of those imprisoned and those who were removed from LegCo are long-time supporters of the migrant workers’ cause. So when they [protest organisers] ask me if I can give a message, I told them it will be an honour to do so… As an activist myself, I think it is just right to express solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in what they see as curtailment of basic people’s democratic rights.”

When asked about future opportunities for collaboration between social activist groups and democratic parties, Villanueva said that although having everyone work together and cooperate in everything may be idealistic, different organisations could work together in the future to advance “the people’s cause” in Hong Kong.

See more: ‘It may be hot outside, but not hotter than our anger’: Protest against activist jailings attracts young and old

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“What the different social movements can do is to look for more points of unities and common advocacies and campaigns for cooperation. The social movements must also respond not only to issues on civil and political rights but also the socio-economic concerns of the people.”

Jun Pang is an independent writer and researcher. She has previously worked in NGOs advocating for refugees' and migrants' rights in Asia and Europe.