Mothers stage sit-in in HK park calling on government to withdraw extradition bill and for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down

17-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

At least 6,000 people, mostly mothers, according to organisers, staged a sit-in at a public park in the heart of Hong Kong’s business district on Friday night against the government’s controversial extradition bill.

The crowd, dressed in black and holding carnations, filled up almost the entire open space of the 13,600 sq m Chater Garden in Central.

“We’re just a group of ordinary mothers who love our children,” said barrister Linda Wong, mother of an eight-year-old son.

During the three-hour rally, the group chanted slogans demanding Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor step down and the government retract the bill, which would allow the transfer of suspects to jurisdictions the city does not have extradition arrangements with, such as mainland China.

Wong said many mothers were enraged after hearing Lam reprimand young protesters for “organising a riot” in a television interview on Wednesday.

Lam said she did not agree with the violent actions young people took, adding that she too was a mother and would not indulge in her children’s “wayward behaviour”.

Several hours before the interview was broadcast, tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the Legislative Council and government headquarters in Admiralty. Violent clashes left some 80 people injured and seeking treatment at public hospitals.

“The real, loving mothers are ones like us who really look out for our own children, who are willing to listen, communicate and protect the younger generation,” Wong said.

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Within two days, the group had gathered more than 44,000 signatures for their petition against Lam’s interview.

One of the mothers who addressed the crowd was Tina Luk Kam-shing. Video footage of Luk confronting alone a line of armed police officers during the protests on Wednesday, went viral online.

Luk pleaded with them to think of their own children and to stop shooting at the young protesters.

Moments later she was pepper-sprayed in the face.

During the clashes, police threw tear gas, shot rubber pellets, beanbag rounds and used batons against protesters.

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Police said they were only responding with appropriate force after protesters had thrown sharpened metal rods and bricks at officers.

In response to Lam’s interview that she was a loving mother protecting her children, Luk had one question for her: “Is this the way you teach your children? With violence?”

Luk said Lam should keep the promise she declared during her election campaign that she would resign if mainstream opinion made her no longer able to continue the job.

“If you can’t even keep your promises and your integrity, how are you going to teach the next generation?” Luk said. “You may have aced all your exams and was a model student, but you have failed as a chief executive and failed as a mother.”

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Susanne Choi Yuk-ping, a Chinese University sociology professor at the rally, said the protest was to tell young people that they were “not alone”.

“We call on the chief executive to stop being an enemy of the people … give us back Hong Kong, give the younger generation back their home.”


Category: Hong Kong

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