HONG KONG — “Anti-violence!”, “Save Hong Kong!” Over 470,000 people gathered on Saturday in a rally held at Tamar Park, Admiralty of Hong Kong, to voice out their demand for peace and stability in Hong Kong.
At around 4 p.m. local time, the metro station near Tamar Park was swarming with people. An hour later, the rally started as the Chinese national anthem was ringing out.
Waving the Chinese national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and holding signs written with slogans including “Stop Riots”, “Anti-violence” and “Save Hong Kong”, the crowd was enthusiastic and impassioned despite the rain. They chanted the slogans to express their views.
At the beginning of the rally, a video was played, featuring a recording of a policeman’s wife who spoke, choking back sobs, of how violent protesters stormed the police stations and attacked the police. She appealed to the public to support the police and Hong Kong during this difficult time. “Police, keep it up!”, “Save Hong Kong!” the crowd cried out at the end of the video.
Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, called upon people from all walks of life to firmly oppose violence.
The national flag and emblem represent the dignity of the country, and those who insult the national flag and emblem are turning themselves into enemies of the people in the whole country, Tam added.
Rebuking the recent illegal assemblies and violent acts at Hong Kong International Airport as “the ugliest riot in the world”, Maria Tam Wai-chu deputy director of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Basic Law Committee from Hong Kong, stressed that everyone should respect the freedoms of others and the exercise of freedom does not include wanton destruction of public properties or obstruction of public transport.
Wong Kam-leung, chairman of Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said that the violence in Hong Kong has been escalating over the past two months and he was distressed to see young people using force and violating laws.
He called on the young people to “stop and think twice” before engaging in violent or illegal acts.
A 57-year-old gardener surnamed Chan said sometimes she could not go to work because radical demonstrators disrupted the traffic, “which was very annoying.”
“Hong Kong has always been a peaceful society. I hope the extremist radicals stop violent acts so that people can return to peaceful life,” she said.
A finance professional surnamed Lee said his business has been badly hit by the illegal demonstrations since many of his clients are too concerned to invest in Hong Kong.
“The common aspiration of the overwhelming majority of people in Hong Kong is that the violence and chaos will stop soon. Our community has been torn apart and can not afford any more of it,” he said. “We urge the demonstrators and mobs to stop it immediately; otherwise, the whole community has to pay for the consequences.”
A local resident, Wendy, a mother of a young boy, told the reporter that her life was largely affected by the violent protests going on in the recent two months.
“For the sake of our future generations and Hong Kong getting back on track, we refuse to be in silence, we must let the world hear our voice,” she said firmly.
The assembly ended at around 6 p.m. local time, with the participants singing the chorus Below the Lion Rock, a famous song in Hong Kong that represents the spirit of unity and hard-working.