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HKFP Lens: ‘Gas them’ – Activists satirise anti-refugee campaigners at competing rallies

Various groups held protests and counter-protests in Central on Saturday on the issue of refugees in Hong Kong.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

Demonstrators belonging to the pro-Beijing Liberal Party marched to the Central Government Offices from Chater Garden in Central, holding placards that said “We want closed camps” and “Deport fake refugees”.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

They were led by Dominic Lee Tsz-King, the chairman of the Liberal Party’s Youth Committee. Around 100 to 200 took part in the anti-refugee rally, according to Oriental Daily and Sing Tao Daily.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

Meanwhile, different groups also held counter-protests at Chater Garden. Socialist Action protesters waved signs comparing New People’s Party Chairwoman Regina Ip to Hitler and Donald Trump, and accusing her of being racist and a dictator.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

This was a reference to Ip’s suggestion in March that the government should put refugees in a closed camp outside of Hong Kong to deter “fake” refugees.

See also: DAB party sets up in Tsim Sha Tsui calling for ‘fake’ refugees to be put in camp and deported

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

Activists from Refugee Union were also seen raising banners that read: “Assistance not oppression” and “Camps are double torture”.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

In a separate demonstration near Central Government Offices, counter-protesters waved apparently satirical placards bearing the logos of pro-establishment parties that said “Gas them!” and “Tax refugee go home”.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

The protesters and counter-protesters came into confrontation with each other and were separated by police.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

The protests came amid increasingly heated discussion over the refugee question in Hong Kong.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

In January, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying proposed withdrawing from the United Nations convention on torture to block “fake” refugees from coming to the city, a suggestion that has been heavily criticised by NGOs.

refugee protests

Photo: Dan Garrett.

Over 90 organisations and 70 individuals then signed a joint statement released by NGO Justice Centre in April, calling for the Hong Kong community and government to work together to stop discrimination towards refugees.

HKFP Lens: 'Gas them' - Activists satirise anti-refugee campaigners at competing rallies