More than 1,000 health care staff stage sit-in to condemn ‘excessive use of force’ by HK police on anti-government protesters

15-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

More than 1,000 health care staff from 13 public hospitals on Tuesday staged sit-in demonstrations at their workplace to condemn what they said was an excessive use of force by police in anti-government protests.

This came as an organiser of two previous mass rallies announced plans for a march on Sunday.

The doctors, nurses and other health workers chose their lunch hour to protest at the hospitals, many of which were major facilities with accident and emergency services. A similar assembly was also held in the head office of the Hospital Authority, which manages the city’s public hospitals.

At Queen Elisabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, doctors, nurses and other hospital staff gathered in the lobby of one of the blocks. Many were in uniforms, wearing black masks as a mark of protest and holding placards that read “Hong Kong police attempt to murder Hong Kong citizens”.

Some of them also covered their right eye with gauze to show their frustrations over the injury that a female anti-government protester suffered in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday, allegedly caused by a beanbag round shot by police. She was being treated at Queen Elisabeth Hospital and a source said her condition was stable.

Wong Lok-yu, a doctor who co-organised the rally at Queen Elisabeth Hospital, said: “We are now stepping into a humanitarian crisis, and someone will die sooner or later. More people are getting injured by police.”

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a renowned infectious diseases expert from the University of Hong Kong who attended the sit-in at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, said health care workers were “deeply pained” by the injuries and suicides of people in the past two months.

“Brute force will not put Hong Kong back to order. It will only breed more violence and hatred,” Yuen said, calling for truth and love.

He said truth could let people settle their differences of opinion, and love would give people the ability to forgive the physical and mental hurt done by others.

A spokesman for the Hospital Authority said it understood that staff members wanted to express their opinions.

“Public hospitals are not appropriate venues for such gatherings, as crowds could affect operations and patient services of the health care facilities,” he said, adding that all public hospitals ran smoothly on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised two major marches against the now-abandoned extradition bill in June drawing millions of people, will stage another massive march on Sunday.

The proposed march, still pending police approval, is expected to begin at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 3pm and end on Chater Road in Central.

Police banned several marches over the past two weekends citing security concerns, as many of the recent protests had descended into clashes between demonstrators and law enforcers.

But front convenor Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit stressed their march would be peaceful and warned police not to ban it.

“I can’t see any excuse for police to ban our peaceful march. If even a march is not allowed, how will citizens voice their opinions?” he asked.

He expected at least 300,000 people to turn out for Sunday’s march, but called for more city residents to take part.

“All the protests took place because Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor refused to listen to the voice of the public. Now, she is calling us rioters,” Sham said.

Sunday’s march will urge the government to stop “police brutality” and investigate “the collusion between the force and triads”, along with five other demands including full withdrawal of the bill and an independent investigation into the force’s alleged excess use of force.

The organiser of another march which was to be held in Kwai Tsing on Sunday said it would postpone its demonstration by a week. Meanwhile, police on Tuesday told the organiser of another march scheduled to take place in Hung Hom on Saturday that it was unlikely to get a green light.


Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post