Hong Kong Gives Protesters Green Light for Big Rally on Sunday

By Reuters

HONG KONG —Hong Kong authorities granted protesters permission to march this weekend, organizers said on Dec. 5, giving the green light to a rally seen as a gauge of the pro-democracy movement’s support following its sweeping victory in local elections.

The Civil Human Right Front, the group that organized million-strong marches in the China-ruled city in June, said it had received permission from police for a planned Human Rights Day rally on Sunday.

During the past six months of pro-democracy demonstrations, authorities had denied requests from the group to hold rallies. Some calm has descended since the Nov. 24 district elections, when pro-democracy candidates won nearly 90 percent of the seats.

Also on Thursday, a protester who was shot by police in an altercation two months ago appeared in court for the first time to face charges of rioting and assaulting a police officer.

Tsang Chi-Kin
Tsang Chi-Kin (C), who was shot by a police officer during a protest, arrives for a court hearing in Hong Kong on Dec. 5, 2019. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Tsang Chi-kin, who had been hospitalized after the Oct. 1 shooting incident, walked into a Hong Kong court and left about an hour later after his case was adjourned until February.

18-year-old Tsang was critically wounded after an officer shot him in the chest at close range during a scuffle with police in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood. Tsang was shot in his left lung, three centimeters from his heart, according to local media.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting questioned why police did not take action to provide aid to Tsang, until three minutes after he was initially shot. He said the delay was unacceptable.

Police are facing accusations of excessive use of force.

A rally has been planned for Friday evening to protest the use of tear gas by police.

Demonstrators have repeatedly called for an independent inquiry into police use of force as one of their “five demands” on the government. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has also called for an investigation into allegations of excessive police force.

Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Police Chris Tang will visit Beijing on Friday to discuss the security situation, his first such visit since his appointment last month.

Tang will pay a “courtesy visit” to Beijing, where he will call on the Ministry of Public Security, meet with counterparts and discuss the security situation, the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

He is due to return early on Sunday morning, according to police, hours before the afternoon rally.

Tang replaced Stephen Lo amid a police siege of protesters at a university that saw some of the shocking scenes of violence.

The protests were sparked by a controversial and since-withdrawn extradition bill and have swelled into broader calls for greater democratic freedoms.

Protesters accuse China of increasingly interfering in freedoms promised to the former British colony when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

By Sarah Wu and Twinnie Siu. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.