Hundreds of office workers march to work across HK in protest against government and to show support for student who died in car park fall

09-Nov-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hundreds of office workers walked to work on Friday morning as part of continuing anti-government protests and in support of the student who died from a car park fall near police dispersal operations.

The march was the second “Walk to Work” protest despite heavy police presence at several starting points, including Tsim Sha Tsui, where officers were seen checking identification, and at Causeway Bay and Sheung Wan.

In Causeway Bay, workers gathered at three separate points in East Point Road, Victoria Park and Times Square to avoid police, but a march along one route towards Taikoo Place gained momentum as more than 100 people joined along the way, shouting slogans such as “add oil, classmate Chow”, referring to the dead student, and “form a union, start a strike”.

Hennessy Road in Wan Chai was briefly blocked by marchers on another route from Causeway Bay to Central, as 60 people took to the streets. Similar events took place in Mong Kok, Kowloon Bay, Kwun Tong, Tai Wai, Sha Tin and Kwai Fong.

Marchers dispersed without any clashes with police. (South China Morning Post)

Marchers dispersed without any clashes with police. (South China Morning Post)

An insurance worker surnamed Tang said she had been following the news on 22-year-old Chow Tsz-lok, the University of Science and Technology student who was certified dead at 8am on Friday morning after suffering from a brain injury. He was suspected to have fallen four metres from a car park in Tseung Kwan O on early Monday morning, as police fired tear gas at protesters in a confrontation nearby.

On Friday morning, Tang, 26, had not known about Chow’s death at the time, but said: “I’m here to show support for him, and our five demands are still the same. I just try to join any protests and marches I can.”

Another marcher, surnamed Chow, said: “The five demands have always stayed the same, but with the escalating crackdown on peaceful protests, I thought today would be a relatively safe way to come out and express my opinions.” The 33-year-old who works in construction was planning on heading to work after the march ended in Taikoo Shing.

“I’m already late, but everyone is working on ‘limited service’ these days, even the MTR,” she said, referring to the closure of the city’s train stations during protests.

Marchers walking to Tai Koo passed another group of about 30 heading towards Causeway Bay, and drivers honked their horns in response to the workers’ slogans.

Four police vans began following the march from Quarry Bay and riot police got off their vehicles at Taikoo Place, with marchers dispersing by 9am, disappearing into the surrounding office buildings.

Chan, a 50-year-old retail worker, has been joining marches since June. “All we want is the autonomy promised to us under ‘one country, two systems’. We support that. We don’t want independence like Catalonia,” he said, referring to the Spanish semi-autonomous region calling for separation.

He said the Beijing government had misunderstood the demands of the movement in Hong Kong. “But we don’t have any other way to explain it other than coming out to protest.”

Chan accused police of abusing their power by banning marches and ending approved rallies early, adding this had not stopped people from coming out to protest.

Hong Kong has entered its 22nd week of anti-government protests, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed for the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which the city has no such agreement, including mainland China.

The five demands of protesters include an independent commission of inquiry into police action, retracting the classification of protesters as rioters, amnesty for those arrested and universal suffrage. One demand has been fulfilled the withdrawal of the hated extradition bill.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post

Comments are closed.