Thousands of people joined the senior citizen’s march to support the youth protesting against the anti-extradition bill today. According to the organisers, more than 9,000 citizens joined the protest, while police put the peak turnout at 1,500. The rally began at 5 p.m. at Chater Garden in Central and was set to end at the Central Government Complex and was organised by citizens who manage the Facebook community page “Silver Hair Group”.
With many dressed in white tops and black pants, demonstrators held banners and protest signs, some of which read "Support the Youth. Safeguard Hong Kong," and "VIOLENCE, FATAL ATTACK TO YOUNGSTER. SHAMEFUL."
Some protesters also chanted slogans in the supposedly silent march, including “Add oil, Hongkongers,” “Add oil, young people,” and “Step down, Carrie Lam!”
Some members from the pro-democracy camp, including lawmakers "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, Fernando Cheung and former lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, as well as Hong Kong actress Deanie Yip Dak-han, participated in the march as well.
“I was born here. I grew up here. I don't want Hong Kong to [become] ... so different from what I've experienced through my whole life,” protest participant K. K. Tam told Young Post.
"It is a tragedy that the young protesters had to resort to violence [in the anti-extradition bill movement], which was a result of our Chief Executive’s apathy [towards public opinion]," he added.
Tam, who came with his wife, said he hoped that Carrie Lam would step down and take responsibility for her wrongdoings, and that universal suffrage would be implemented in the city, as promised in the Basic Law.
Michelle Yiu, 60, also went to the march with her friend. She held the belief that “both young and old are equally responsible to participate in politics” for the good of society. “Society is ours, regardless of age,” she said.
While she disagreed with some of the young protesters taking violent action during the movement, Yiu said she understood that they were forced by the unresponsive government to take these steps.
She added that the government should respond to the demands of the people and “allow more young blood to participate in councils… so that the youth’s voice can be heard.”
“It is without question that teenagers have paid an immense price for Hong Kong and justice during the anti-extradition bill movement, facing the force’s violent suppression whilst risking arrest and severe punishments,” wrote the organisers on Facebook last Thursday.
“The Democracy movement has been dragging on for more than twenty years, and it has now reached the time when it can no longer be stalled. Let us [the seniors] stand out to express our dissatisfaction towards the government. Let our voices be heard as we support the young generation’s fight.”
In addition to the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, participants also called for the government to drop charges against people arrested during the protests; to put an immediate stop to tracking down and arresting protesters; the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate previous clashes between the police and protesters, as well as the reasons and responsibilities for the force’s alleged abuse and violence; and the election of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council by universal suffrage.