Protests in solidarity with demonstrations in Hong Kong have been taking place in over 60 major cities, including Edinburgh, in recent weeks.
This protest, described by Democracy for Hong Kong in Scotland (DH4K Scotland) as an “Anti-Totalitarianism rally,” took place on Sunday 30 September with over 150 people in attendance, including a number of people travelling to Edinburgh from Durham and Aberdeen.
The group of protestors were seen holding signs and wearing yellow safety helmets and masks in the same style of the protestors in Hong Kong.
Throughout the afternoon, the activists sought to raise as much awareness as possible concerning the protests in Hong Kong, which became a large-scale movement in June and have continued into October.
They chanted throughout the afternoon, including the slogan ‘Free Hong Kong; the Revolution of Our Time’, which DH4K Scotland explained as a phrase which originated in 2016 from the election campaign of a Hong Kong localist candidate and figure in the Hong Kong Indigenous movement, Edward Leung Tin-kei.
The slogan has become extremely popular in Hong Kong, with it being spray-painted onto buildings, painted on banners, and chanted in the streets.
The group would occasionally interrupt the chanting to sing ‘Glory to Hong Kong’, considered by some to be the ‘Hongkongers’ anthem.
The protest attracted attention both from locals and tourists with many protestors engaged in discussions with passers-by, with some spectators eventually joining in the protest.
In a statement Sum-Wing, one activist present at the demonstration, said: “It is imperative that we tell the world what is going on.
“Our home is under the threat of an authoritarian regime and it will impact on everyone around the world if we don’t stop it now.”
The protest in Edinburgh, organized by DH4K – Scotland, were largely organized by students and the group has been organizing public events across Edinburgh since June.
In Hong Kong protests have passed the 100-day mark and continued through 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China celebrations, with matters remaining tense and increasingly violent.
While the government in Hong Kong has made some concessions in line with the protestor’s demands including withdrawing the Extradition Bill and hosting ‘community dialogue sessions’, the increasingly authoritarian regulations and demands of the mainland have done little to alleviate the tension between the protestors and authorities.
In the first week of October, protests escalated further due to chief executive Carrie Lam passing a ban on face masks and invoking the emergency regulations ordinance.
On the evening following this conference, two metro stations were set on fire, and pro-China shops and businesses were vandalized.
Police replied with teargas and at least one case of live ammunition, with reports say a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg, and arrived at the hospital in serious condition.
In a statement, D4HK said: “The ban on face masks is a serious breach of freedom of assembly and the right to protest.
“However, the use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance should be a far greater concern.
“The use of this outdated colonial era law, for the first time in more than fifty years, is potentially the start of a very dangerous slippery slope.”
They also held a protest on Saturday October 5 specifically against the Emergency Law and Mask Ban in front of City Hall.
The law allows the city’s leader to make “any regulations whatsoever”.
Image credit: Studio Incendo via Wikimedia Commons