A group of pro-democracy students from Hong Kong at the University of Alberta will be in Red Deer this weekend to create some awareness.
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion – these are core Canadian values that two Hong Kong students studying in Edmonton value highly. Wing and another student who wants to go by ‘V’ see these values at stake back home.
The duo did not want to share their full names citing political tensions, because there are mainland Chinese students on campus, who may not feel the same way as them, and that may create a greater division.
“Our problem is not with Chinese people, we are Chinese people from Hong Kong. Our problem is with the communist government and their policies and how they treat students and treat people,” said V. “It’s unlawful and inhumane,” she said citing the police brutality and numerous arrests in recent days in the case of Hong Kong Polytechnic.
As students in Canada, V said, the group is banding together to inspire other students (international and Canadian) and Canadians to pay attention to the ongoing issues in Hong Kong.
The duo expect more than 50 students to show up at the rally in Red Deer Sunday at the Westerner Park at 1:30 p.m.
The idea is to protect democracy and people’s rights and students in Hong Kong. Those who support these ideas are welcome to join the group.
A small band of anti-government protesters, their numbers diminished by surrenders and failed escape attempts, remained holed up at Hong Kong Polytechnic early Wednesday as they braced for the endgame in a police siege of the campus.
Police were waiting them out after 10 days of some of the most intense protests the city has seen in more than five months of often-violent unrest gripping the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Since the siege began Sunday, more than 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds of injured treated at hospitals, authorities said.
The government has stood firm, rejecting most of the protesters’ demands. The demonstrators shut down major roads and trains during rush hour every day last week as they turned several university campuses into fortresses and blocked a major road tunnel, which remained closed Tuesday.
Even as the latest violence wound down, a fundamental divide suggests the protests in the former British colony are far from over.
Protests in Hong Kong started about five months ago. Demonstrators first took to streets to protest against a proposed law that would have allowed Hong Kong to extradite criminal suspects to the mainland.
Now, the protests are about so much more, says Wing, citing human rights issues, police totality and China’s communist government.
Protesters have left all the universities except Hong Kong Polytechnic, where hundreds had barricaded themselves and fought back police barrages of tear gas and water cannons with gasoline bombs, some launched from rooftops by catapult, and bows and arrows.
Those who remained at Polytechnic were the last holdouts. Surrounded by police, they faced arrest. Several groups have tried to escape, including one that slid down hoses from a footbridge to waiting motorcycles, but police said they intercepted 37, including the drivers, who were arrested for “assisting offenders.”
They milled about in small groups and had boxes of homemade gasoline bombs, but the mood was grim in the trash-strewn plazas, in contrast to the excitement as they prepared to take on police just a few days earlier.
With files from The Canadian Press