IFJ Blog: Protesting in Hong Kong

On June 9 over 1 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against the proposed extradition law that was about to be debated in the Hong Kong Parliament. On Wednesday, June 12, protesters again took to the street, blocking access to the Legislative Council where the debate was to take place, as a result the debate as been postponed. The IFJ China Coordinator has written about about the protests and the implications for the media.

This still image taken from an AFPTV video shows Hong Kong journalists dressed in high visibility jackets and helmets during a police press conference to protest what they said was excessive force used against them during the June 12 clashes between police and protesters against a controversial extradition law proposal, in Hong Kong on June 13, 2019. Hong Kong protest leaders announced plans for another mass rally on June 16, escalating their campaign against a China. Credit: AFP

Hong Kong, 12 June 2019:

It was a day that most Hongkonger’s couldn’t concentrate on their work at all, even they were still in their office physically.

It was supposed to be the day of the 'Second Reading' debate on the controversial extradition bill.  Thousands of Hongkongers, mostly youngsters, gathered near the LegCo building (Hong Kong's parliament) in the city, to continue to voice their request: the government should withdraw the extradition bill immediately; following demonstrations on June 9 with over a million people.  

Over the past few days, the media both local and foreign have been busy covering the protests across the city. However, in a city where the ICCPR (International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights) is ratified, the media have not being immune to harassment, attacks and obstructions from the police, some reporters even humiliated.

And the saddest fact is, as a person observing the scene on June 12, I would say the protestors, mostly youngsters, didn’t intend to use ‘violence’ at all.  They just tried to push out and block the way towards the LegCo building with their own body,  umbrellas, or some simple protective gear. They used some metal barriers to help them but that is  for blocking the way only - even when some “metal stick” fell out of the iron barriers, they just threw them away like trash and didn’t intend to use them - these young people didn’t intend to use violence at all.    However, they were named as “rioters” and attacked by police with excessive forces, the reporters doing their work where affected too. These made many adults of the city, who still sat in the office, they found themselves struggling to concentrate on their work….

June 12: 15:00

A driver of RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) was hit by tear gas bomb on his chest when he got out of the car for a rest near the protest area.   He went into coma and was sent to hospital, where he was stablised. RTHK staff union blamed the police using excessive force and urge them to avoid unnecessary injury to media workers.

June 12: 18:05

Hong Kong Hermit on twitter published a video, showing a (non-Chinese) man shouting at the police, ““Press! You’re shooting at the press!”, after seeing the police shooting a person on the street.

June 12: 22:25

Commercial Radio Hong Kong published a video on their Facebook, showing one of their reporters being pushed by the police, making them unable to report the scene.  Even showing their press card, the police replied “Reporter your mum” (記你老母)

 

June 11:

According to Hong Kong Free Press, in the morning of June 11 during the follow up protest from the weekend's march, HKFP witnessed “officers using flashlights to interfere with reporters’ work, whilst pushing them towards barriers.” They also pointed out that, in one case, police claimed that they suspected Stand News reporter Lam Yin-pong was in possession of offensive weapons. Lam was carrying a press card, but had his backpack searched by officers.  Lam wrote that a police officer saw five bottles of water in his backpack, and asked: “Why do you carry so much water? Are you going to throw them at us?” Lam replied that they were for his colleagues.

In its statement issued on 11 June, the Hong Kong Journalists Association also pointed out that, “as police removed roadblocks and dispersed protesters from Lung Wo Road using force, reporters and photographers from various media organisations were unreasonably removed from the scene by police.”


If you are in Hong Kong and need assistance please contact:

Hong Kong Journalists Association: https://www.hkja.org.hk/en/home/

Foreign Correspondent's Club, Hong Kong: https://www.fcchk.org/

See the latest IFJ statement on the protests: https://www.ifj.org/media-centre/news/detail/category/press-releases/article/journalists-harassed-covering-city-wide-protests-in-hong-kong.html

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on 
+61 2 9333 0918

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