Masked demonstrators march through Sheffield in Hong Kong democracy protest
Masked protesters trooped through Sheffield in a show of solidarity with pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong.
More than 100 demonstrators took to the streets in the city centre yesterday afternoon for the March Against Totalitarianism, organised by the group Sheffield Stands With Hong Kong.
They wanted to raise awareness of the shocking events in the former British colony, which have been felt particularly keenly in Sheffield due to its large Chinese population.
Hong Kong, which is part of communist-controlled China but has more autonomy than the mainland, has been rocked by violent clashes between police and protesters demanding democracy in recent months.
Christine Emelone described how protesters marched through Sheffield on Saturday carrying placards with slogans including ‘there are no rioters, only tyranny’, and chanting ‘liberate Hong Kong’.
They made their way from the railway station to the Peace Gardens, she said, where they displayed photos of the violence and collected signatures for a petition supporting the cause.
Speakers included the Crookes and Crosspool ward councillor Anne Murphy, who told crowds: “I am standing side by side with you in the struggles of democracy and human rights.”
University of Sheffield student Chezna Wuu said: “It is out duty to protect Hong Kong’s future…. Let us stand together to show we will not fall under pressure and that, at the end of the day, freedom will prevail.”
Saturday’s protest was the latest in a series of pro-democracy demonstrations in Sheffield.
Last month there was an ugly stand-off between pro-democracy campaigners and a group of other students in the city, who the former said attempted to intimidate them, singing the Chinese national anthem and even hurling a bottle in their direction, though police said no one had been injured.
Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have taken part in demonstrations that began over opposition to proposals to allow extradition to mainland China, which opponents feared could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger political dissidents.
The extradition plans have been suspended but protesters are now demanding greater democracy and an inquiry into police actions.