Thousands gathered at Edinburgh Place in Central on Sunday, reiterating the protest movement’s demands and urging the international community to sanction the city should they not be met.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Organiser Ventus Lau said the government should respond and implement universal suffrage for the Legislative Council election later this year.

Photo: Kevin Cheng @ USP United Social Press.

“Otherwise, we hope the international community will issue sanctions, including the US enforcing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, as well as Europe and Australia enacting their own laws to impose sanctions punishing Hong Kong officials who violate human rights,” he said.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

The organiser said 36,000 attended the event, billed as an “anti-communist” rally.

Photo: Studio Incendo..

The police said 3,000 attended at the event’s peak.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Large-scale protests have continued for more than seven months. Initially against a now-withdrawn extradition bill, demonstrators are now demanding an investigation into police conduct, unconditional release of all arrested protesters, a retraction of the “riot” characterisation of protests and full democracy.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Lau said Hong Kong people wished to have the right to elect their leader, like in Taiwan where the presidential and the legislative elections took place on Saturday.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

“We need to know that the right [to vote] did not just fall from the sky. They fought for democracy and freedom with blood and tears. That’s why Hong Kong people cannot give up,” he said.

National flags, as well as black protest flags and those advocating Hong Kong independence, were seen among the crowds.

The gathering was a precursor to this Sunday’s “Universal siege on communists march” which will begin in Central and end in Causeway Bay.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Activists representing different groups of overseas Hongkongers also spoke at the rally, including those from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Taiwan.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Angie Te, a law student, told attendees that she and a group of 20 lawyers and law students sent a report to the United Nations late last year accusing the police of brutal treatment of protesters.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

One report was sent to the UN’s Committee Against Torture, and four more reports will be written on the topics of sexual abuse against women, the rights of young people and children, the rights of disabled people, and political rights, Te said.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

“This is not our endpoint. We are liaising with NGOs of different countries, as we hope to build this into a campaign against police brutality and bring it to different countries to put pressure on the government,” she said.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

The rally ended at around 5pm.

UK consulate

Later in the evening, a group of 20 people went to the British Consulate in Admiralty.

A protester was arrested outside the building on Saturday as a group created a “Lennon Wall” pro-democracy message board. A protester told Ming Pao on Sunday that the arrested woman was only placing sticky notes on the consulate’s wall and did not cause any damage.

Photo: Kaiser, Jimmy Lam @ USP United Social Press.

On Sunday, some demonstrators were searched by riot police, and a woman was arrested outside the nearby Pacific Place mall on Supreme Court Road.

Protesters have been holding vigil outside the consulate since last November.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.