Hong Kong protesters form human chains to call for democracy

  • Demonstrators link hands as they gather at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement are linking hands across the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, inspired by a historic protest 30 years ago in the Baltic states when nearly 2 million people formed a human chain to protest Soviet control. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Vincent Yu

  • Demonstrators hold signs as they gather at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Demonstrators were planning to form a 40 kilometer (25 mile) long human chain Friday night to show their resolve. They said the "Hong Kong Way" was inspired by the "Baltic Way," when people in the Baltic states joined hands 30 years ago in a protest against Soviet control. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Vincent Yu

  • Demonstrators link hands as they gather at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Demonstrators were planning to form 40 kilometers (25 miles) of human chains Friday night to show their resolve. They said the "Hong Kong Way" was inspired by the "Baltic Way," when people in the Baltic states joined hands 30 years ago in a protest against Soviet control. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Vincent Yu

  • Hundreds of accountants chant placards outside the Legislative Council, in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by the Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

  • A protester holds a card which reads "Five demands, persist till the end" as hundreds of accountants march at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

  • This photo provided by Wilson Li shows Simon Cheng Man-kit, second from left, a resident of Hong Kong. China said Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, Cheng, a staffer at the British consulate in Hong Kong, has been given 15 days of administrative detention in the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen for violating regulations on public order. The case is stoking fears that Beijing is extending its judicial reach to semi-autonomous Hong Kong. (Wilson Li via AP) Wilson Li

  • A supporter holds a poster outside of the British Consulate in Hong Kong during a rally in support of an employee of the consulate who was detained while returning from a trip to China, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. China said Wednesday a staffer at the British consulate in Hong Kong has been given 15 days of administrative detention in the city of Shenzhen for violating a law on public order. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Vincent Yu

  • Hundreds of accountants march at Central district, in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

  • Hundreds of accountants march at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by the Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

  • Hundreds of accountants march at Chater Garden in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand the government to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by the Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

  • Hundreds of accountants march at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Protesters demand to fully withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent committee to investigate the use of force by Hong Kong police. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Kin Cheung

Associated Press
Published: 8/23/2019 10:28:36 PM
Modified: 8/23/2019 10:28:21 PM

HONG KONG — Supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement lined city streets and part of the city’s harbor front Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago.

Some raised linked hands while others switched on their smartphone lights and held the devices aloft to create a row of white lights against the nighttime skyline. Organizers hoped the chains, which traced three subway routes, would total 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length.

It was the latest protest in a nearly 11-week-old movement that began with calls to scrap a now-suspended extradition bill and has widened to include demands for full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality at protests.

“It actually enraged me, the way that the government, the (city’s) chief executive and then the police, how they carry out their jobs,” said Michael Ng who works in finance and joined the chain outside an upscale mall. “Very brutal, I would say. We are talking about human rights here.”

Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds has been necessary to clear streets of protesters who have pelted them with eggs, bricks and gasoline bombs.

In a protest dubbed “The Baltic Way,” nearly 2 million Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians formed a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long on Aug. 23, 1989.

Organizers of “The Hong Kong Way” said it would be a show of solidarity against the extradition law and police violence, as well as a plea for international support.

Earlier Friday, accountants marched in support of the pro-democracy movement, while the Canadian Consulate banned its staff from leaving the city on official business after a British Consulate employee was detained in mainland China.

A major trade union confederation said that the head of the cabin crew union at Cathay Dragon airline had been fired in retaliation for supporting the movement, adding to the chill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The Canadian Consulate didn’t say whether the travel restriction for local staff was related to the detention of the British Consulate employee, Simon Cheng Man-kit. He went missing two weeks ago after going on a business trip to Shenzhen, a mainland city just across the border.

“At present, locally engaged staff will not undertake official business travel outside of Hong Kong,” the Canadian Consulate said in a statement.




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