News / Asia

Protesters Released After Massive Hong Kong Rally

  • A protester is carried away by police officers after staying overnight in Hong Kong's financial district, July 2, 2014.
  • A protester wearing a headband which reads "civil disobedience" cries before being dragged away by  police after staying overnight at Hong Kong's financial district July 2, 2014.
  • Protesters demand that a police officer (right) stay away from them during a peaceful protest, in the financial district, Hong Kong, July 2, 2014.
  • Hundreds of protesters stage a peaceful sit-in overnight following a huge rally in support of democratic reform, in the financial district of Hong Kong, July 2, 2014,
  • Protesters sing while waving mobile phones during an overnight sit-in, financial district of Hong Kong,  July 1, 2014.
  • Hong Kong residents march through the streets of the former British colony carrying umbrellas during a protest to push for greater democracy, Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
  • Tens of thousands march in downtown streets during a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
  • Former Hong Kong Chief Secretary Anson Chan (center) looks on beside a police officer as she joins thousands of protesters during a march to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
  • Protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (right) and mainland journalist Gao Yu as they join tens of thousands of others during a march to demand universal suffrage, Hong Kong July 1, 2014.
  • Tens of thousands of residents march during an annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
Pro-democracy Protesters Flood Hong Kong
VOA News

Hong Kong police say they have released the majority of about 500 protesters arrested overnight following a massive pro-democracy rally in the city that drew a crowd of half a million people.

Quoting a police spokeswoman, AFP reported that by late Wednesday, approximately 100 people remained in custody and 18 were released on bail, while the remainder were freed without being charged.

The protesters were charged with illegal assembly and obstructing police after vowing to stay in the city's financial district until 8:00 a.m.

Most protesters did not put up a struggle. Others had to be dragged away from the Chater Road protest site kicking and screaming.

The arrests capped off a day of protests objecting to Beijing's control over political candidates in the territory.

Hong Kong's security minister Lai Tung-kwok told reporters police detained ralliers "to quickly restore transportation and order."

One activist, who was detained and released without charge, warned that civil disobedience in Hong Kong was not going away.

Mabel Au with Amnesty International called the mass arrests "disturbing," telling VOA the protesters were not doing anything illegal.

"We didn't see any violence or any kind of riots or anything," she said. "It was a very peaceful assembly. We do not agree with police that this was an illegal assembly."

Au also said it is "unacceptable" that many of those detained have not been allowed to see their lawyers.

Organizers say 510,000 people attended the protest on the 17th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese governance.

Police put the figure at just under 100,000.

English teacher Edward Fung also participated in what at times was a carnival-like atmosphere during the larger protest.

"Obviously we are here, all of us here, [to] fight for democracy, fight for universal suffrage," he said. "We all here have the right to vote for whoever we like to rule Hong Kong, to have the betterment of Hong Kong, to make Hong Kong improved, you know?"

The annual protest took on added significance this year amid a campaign to pressure Beijing to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their leader.

Many of the protesters chanted anti-China slogans and carried signs demanding "real democracy" as they marched from Victoria Park to the financial district.

The protest follows an unofficial referendum in which nearly 800,000 Hong Kong residents voted to be allowed more control over the nomination of candidates in a 2017 election.

Beijing says it will fulfill its promise to allow the semi-autonomous territory to elect its leader in 2017, but insists only mainland-approved candidates can run.

Chinese state media on Wednesday quoted mainland officials as saying Tuesday's protest shows the civil and political rights of Hong Kong residents are respected.

But Zhang Xiaoming, Beijing's top official in Hong Kong, said any decision concerning the 2017 election would not be affected by the size of the protest or the referendum.

Mass protests have, in the past, convinced Beijing to alter its policies toward Hong Kong. In 2003, half a million people showed up for a pro-democracy protest, prompting China to scrap proposed anti-subversion laws.

But this time Communist Party leaders appear to be standing firm.

The party last month issued a White Paper emphasizing its "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong, which it stressed did not enjoy "full autonomy."

Hong Kong residents enjoy more civil and political rights than their counterparts on the mainland due to Beijing's 1997 agreement with Britain.

But discontent with perceived Chinese interference in Hong Kong is rising and a heavy-handed response by the mainland could trigger more protests.

Occupy Central, a coalition of protest groups, has threatened to shut down the city's financial district later this year if its demands for electoral reforms are not met.

You May Like

Taiwan President Sounds Warning on Future of China Ties

Current Taiwan government has eased once dangerously tough relations with Beijing since 2008, but next year’s presidential election could change that course More

US Presidential Candidates Woo Hispanic Voters

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton reached out to Hispanic voters this past week in a bid to boost their voter support More

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Documentary is a close-up and personal view of young woman who has become of global symbol of courage and inspiration More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 03, 2014 6:07 AM
This demonstration is a trial run for the activists using it as a dress rehearsal for the Occupy Central Movement and the same applies to the Police learning how to handle such massive arrests.

by: Tang SochetVitou from: Cambodia
July 02, 2014 10:21 PM
It is very difficult to judge a human society, but we are sure about human nature, we are the most dynamic intelligence creature on earth, if any individual or group wants to containing them or the environment is not right for them, then there are two things will happen they will run away or they will change that environment. Leaders who understand this creature well will have a positive out come to themselves and their societies will growth & prosper endlessly.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs