The BWI has expressed serious concern over the increasing use of police violence, including the shooting of an activist on the morning of 11 November. The incident follows a weekend of violence in which police used tear gas and water cannons to break up rallies in blocked roads and shopping malls across Hong Kong.
“We are appalled by what appears to be an increasingly hostile attitude by Hong Kong police,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “The rights to freedom of association and expression are fundamental rights and individuals should not be put in harm’s way for exercising those rights. Our solidarity is with the people of Hong Kong.”
“The BWI along with the entire international trade union movement appeals to the Hong Kong Government to immediately conduct an independent inquiry on police brutalities against protesters including reported sexual harassment and gang rape. Justice must be rendered to those who have perpetuated these forms of violence,” added Yuson.
This morning’s incident occurred after activists had blocked roads and an officer gave chase before pulling out a pistol and shooting an individual in the abdomen at close range. Immediately after the officer was confronted by other activists, he deployed pepper spray in self-defense. A few hours later police used tear gas to clear the area.
Protests in Hong Kong have now entered their 24th straight week, initially sparked by a proposed Extradition law which many saw as being pro-Beijing, breaking the historical ‘one country, two systems’ agreement.
While the Hong Kong Government has now agreed to drop the legislation altogether, the movement has four remaining demands: the retraction of the characterisation of a 12 June protest as a riot (which would carry a hefty prison sentence), the release and exoneration of protestors, the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct, and the resignation of Carrie Lam and the implementation of universal suffrage.
“The ongoing demand for democratic reforms is legitimate and critical to ensure that the civil and political rights of Hong Kong’s citizens are respected,” continued Yuson. “Now is the time for the Hong Kong Government to put forward serious proposals on how to rebuild the social contract and create a better environment for peace to flourish.”