Over the weekend, once again, a so-called peaceful protest ended up as a full-scale riot. The police originally opposed this march, so the organiser, Michael Mo, went to the appeal board, saying that the police should respect people’s right to hold peaceful assemblies and that the force was wrong to assume the planned protest would descend into chaos like other anti-government protests.
Well, so much for Mr Mo’s claims. Once again, we had a riot with protesters showing up with petrol bombs and ready for a fight. Mr Mo now tries to hide behind the claim that it was all the police’s fault for being there.
Something is very wrong with the system for approving these marches when the appeal board takes at face value an organiser’s claim that a march will be peaceful, choosing to ignore police advice, and there seems to be no consequences for the organiser if the claim turns out to be wrong.
Surely the organiser of such a protest march should be made to put up a bond of a significant amount to cover damage resulting from the demonstration, instead of simply making a claim to the appeal board and getting off scot-free when the claim proves to be wrong. Mr Mo should be held responsible for his actions. Of course, withholding approval won’t stop the protests, but at least, from the very outset, let them be illegal assemblies with the consequences that come with that definition.
(From Bob Rogers, Sai Kung)
Militant protesters have lost overseas support
I live in New Zealand and frequently travel to both mainland China and Hong Kong. I am one of thousands living overseas who support the democratic rights of Hongkongers living under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, which China has upheld.
Protesters had my support when faced with a bill, that if passed, would allow extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China. That bill has now been withdrawn. Continued peaceful protests about an inquiry into police brutality I accept. But other protesters have lost my support and that of many offshore residents. The wanton destruction of property, such as MTR stations, is totally unacceptable. It turns protesters into vandals. Such protest action would only encourage China to react, which is surely not the desired result. Or is this what some of the more militant protesters want?
(from Des Trigg, Auckland, New Zealand)