Following the clashes between anti-extradition law protesters and police on Wednesday, local student group Demovanile has condemned the use of unnecessary violence by the police, saying police actions had violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Founded by a group of secondary school students who are against the proposed fugitive bill, Demovanile criticised the police for using dangerous weapons, including tear gas and rubber bullets, on protesters during confrontations in Wan Chai and Admiralty on Wednesday. As of yesterday evening, the clashes had resulted in 79 injuries.
“The police had no boundary when using dangerous weapons ... they are seriously threatening the lives and safety of protesters,” Demovanile wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.
Jamie Lam, 18, the spokesperson for the youth group, told Young Post they were holding a class boycott near Hong Kong City Hall when the fight between police and protesters in Admiralty started around 3pm.
The group had to end the strike and evacuate the participating students immediately as the police began to use more tear gas near their spot. Jamie said even though they wore protective gear, such as face masks and goggles, many students felt unwell after being hit with tear gas.
“The gas was much stronger than I expected, my nose was hurting a lot,” the 18-year-old recalled.
Another Form Four student Harry Leung, who went to the protest with his mother and sister, said several rounds of tear gas were fired around four metres above him at the same time.
“It felt like my whole body was burning, I didn’t know where to run to,” he said.
After experiencing the chaos and witnessing police’s forceful action on Wednesday, Harry added he may not join future protests against the proposed extradition law. But he said he will continue to distribute leaflets about the bill, as well as white ribbons, which is a symbol of solidarity with the protesters, at his school.
After the clashes on Wednesday, some student concern groups said their members would have to rest for at least a few days before deciding their next move, while others said they will keep stocking up their supplies and continue to run their booths.
Meanwhile, an anonymous senior secondary student wrote on the School Secrets Facebook page yesterday urging more consideration for the police force. He said his father, who was among the policemen at the protest, was only carrying out his duty. He added Hongkongers are unaware of the immense pressure faced by the police.
“The police’s duty is to maintain peace and order, but they shouldn’t risk their lives for it. Who can guarantee my dad won’t die at the hands of radical protesters?” he wrote on the Facebook page.
As of Thursday evening, his post had received more than 1,500 “angry” reactions. Some netizens said the police should have shown more restraint while carrying out their duty; others said stress is not an excuse for abuse of power.