The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to four freedoms. One is freedom from fear: nobody should be in fear of their government, its armed forces, the police, their neighbours, or even political victimisation from employers. And yet many in Hong Kong say they feel immense pressure not to support the protests. And it was topic that figured high on the agenda on Thursday night when Chief Executive Carrie Lam held her first “community dialogue” in Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Security was tight. Police said they had deployed 3,000 officers. One hundred of whom were in full riot gear inside the venue. The stadium seats around 3,500, but only 130 randomly selected members of the public were allowed in, and just 30 got to speak.
Many of the anti-extradition bill protests have been characterised by their lack of identifiable leadership and their fluid nature. Operating under the advice to “Be Water”, protesters have organised actions communally through messaging apps and online fora. Of course, the most active of the demonstrators are Hong Kong Chinese, but some members of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority groups have also been following or reporting on the movement, which, as Hongkongers, also affects them.
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