Hundreds Take to the Streets of Hong Kong to Commemorate Million-Strong Protest a Year Ago

By Frank Fang

Hundreds of Hongkongers staged a march in the business district of Central in Hong Kong on June 9 evening to commemorate the beginning of a mass protest movement against Beijing’s encroachment.

A year ago, roughly a million Hongkongers participated in a march against a since-scrapped extradition bill that would have allowed Beijing to transfer individuals for trial in Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled courts. The event set off an ongoing anti-CCP, pro-democracy protest movement.

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Pro-democracy protesters march in the Central district of Hong Kong, as the city marks the one-year anniversary since pro-democracy protests erupted following opposition to a bill allowing extraditions to mainland China, Hong Kong, China, on June 9, 2020. (Anthony Wallace /AFP via Getty Images)

Most recently, protesters expressed fears that Beijing’s decision to enact a national security law in Hong Kong will lead to a crackdown on dissent.

Protesters marched off from Chater Garden in Central at around 7 p.m. local time, flashing their cellphone lights while chanting slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” and “Fight Till the Last Breath.”

Police were determined to prevent people from gathering. At around 1:30 p.m. local time, it issued a statement on its Facebook page, telling citizens not to participate in “unauthorized assemblies” on Hong Kong Island tonight, or they could be charged and sentenced for a maximum of five years.

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People march on Queen’s Road in Central, Hong Kong, on June 9, 2020. (Song Bilong/The Epoch Times)

A large number of police officers showed up in Chater Garden at around 5:30 p.m. local time, and made two arrests.

Large crowds convened nonetheless, and set out marching toward the direction of Sheung Wan, which is located west of the Central district.

At around 7:30 p.m. local time, police again took to its Facebook page, saying that protesters have illegally occupied several roads in Central, including Queen’s Road and Ice House Street.

Local media reported that police pointed guns and canisters of pepper spray at journalists and protesters, telling them to get off the roads.

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Hong Kong police officers raise a blue flag, warning people to leave or they will use force, in Central, Hong Kong, on June 9, 2020. (Sarah Liang/The Epoch Times)

At around 8:15 p.m. local time, local media Stand News reported that police fired pepper spray and pepper balls at crowds on Des Voeux Road, and arrested two protesters.

China director of Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson urged the Hong Kong government to respect citizens’ freedoms and for the Chinese regime to scrap the national security law proposal. “For the past year Hong Kong people have made clear their peaceful demands for freedom and autonomy,” said Sophie Richardson, in a statement on the June 9 anniversary.

Richardson added: “But the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong choose to respond with ever-greater repression and violence.”

From The Epoch Times