1.7 million out in the rain . . .
On Sunday, 1.7 million Hong Kong residents marched in heavy rain to protest the controversial extradition bill, the government’s handling of recent protests, and allegations of police brutality. The gathering, the third mass rally in 11 weeks, was mostly peaceful. While tensions remain high in Hong Kong, Sunday’s rally demonstrated a return to peaceful protest after weeks of violent clashes between activists and police. In its press release, the Hong Kong government claimed that it will “begin sincere dialogue with the public, mend social rifts, and rebuild social harmony when everything has calmed down.”
Tensions spread to Canadian cities . . .
As hundreds marched in solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Vancouver and Toronto on Sunday afternoon, they were met with pro-Beijing counter protesters. Despite the tension, the rallies in Vancouver and Toronto were mostly peaceful. The rift between Hong Kong and mainland China, however, has prompted various civil society organizations to take sides. Vancouver’s Chinese Benevolent Association issued a statement on Sunday denouncing violence by “radical demonstrators,” while Canada-Hong Kong Link called on the Canadian government to urge the government in Hong Kong to stop the violence.
Ottawa’s response . . .
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a joint statement with the European Union on Saturday, urging restraint and de-escalation. The statementcontinued, “fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly, and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under ‘one country, two systems’ principle . . . must continue to be upheld.” In response to the statement, China’s embassy in Ottawa issued a statement saying, “stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs.”