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Oscar Shout-Out Encourages Protesters in Hong Kong


Common, left, and John Legend perform at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, Los Angeles, Feb. 22, 2015.

Common, left, and John Legend perform at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, Los Angeles, Feb. 22, 2015.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters say they were encouraged by the unexpected mention of their movement at this week's 87th Academy Awards.

Tommy Cheung, one of the organizers and student leaders of the Umbrella Movement, told VOA that Common's Hong Kong shout-out during his acceptance speech for Best Original Song in a movie was definitely a boost to protesters, especially while the movement is in a stagnant stage after the Occupy Movement ended last year.

"It is an encouraging for us to fight for democracy, especially for our supporters outside of Hong Kong. After the Umbrella Movement, people in Hong Kong also needed something deeper, more practical to their lives," he said. "It proves that after the movement people in Hong Kong still hold our strong belief for democracy."

During the Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles Sunday, singer Common voiced support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters after he and singer John Legend won the award for “Glory,” from the film Selma. The movie traces the story of the American civil-rights movement of the 1960s.

During his acceptance, Common referenced Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Fifty years ago, voting rights marchers led by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were attacked and beaten on the bridge by Alabama state police. Common said the bridge connected people across the world who were fighting for democracy, including those on the streets of Hong Kong.

Anqi Hu contributed to this report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

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