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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora