Days after tens of thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets to oppose the imprisonment of 16 pro-democracy and land rights activists, groups of protesters organised solidarity actions outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London and in Taiwan.
Last Thursday, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow were given six to eight months in jail for their role in a protest that sparked the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. Earlier in the week, 13 activists were jailed over their participation in a protest outside the Legislative Council against a controversial development plan in the northeast New Territories.
Around 10 protesters gathered outside the London FCO holding yellow umbrellas and signs of support for the imprisoned activists on Wednesday. Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Benedict Rogers read out a statement signed by 25 public figures, including parliamentarians, lawyers and civil society leaders from the UK, the US, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar.
— Benedict Rogers (@benedictrogers) August 23, 2017
The statement urged the international community to put pressure on the Hong Kong and mainland governments to respect the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and the Basic Law.
At the end of the protest, Rogers and members of the Hong Kong Cultural & Political Forum handed the statement to Warren Leigh, a representative from the FCO. They also handed Leigh a list of 117 names of protesters currently jailed or under prosecution, as well as a petition to release Wong, Law, and Chow.
Rogers said on Facebook that in addition to participating in the protest, he would hold a day-long hunger strike “for Hong Kong.”
A marathon protest has been taking place outside the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London since July 18.
On Sunday night, around a hundred protesters rallied in solidarity with jailed Hong Kong land rights protesters in front of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei’s Xinyi District, according to Liberty Times Net.
Organised by local labour rights organisation Shut Down But Not Shut Up and direct action group Untouchables’ Liberation Area, the protest took place without prior government authorisation, and included speeches and live music performances by local punk bands. Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “history will vindicate civil resistance” and “withdraw the Northeast New Territories development plan.”
“Maybe you have heard of the plight of Hong Kong’s Choi Yuen Village, or of the ongoing fight for Mapopo Community Farm. The rationale for the fight [against the New Territories Northeast development plan] is basically the same as that of our fight against developmentalism and the appropriation of villagers’ land for commercial purposes here,” a spokesperson at the protest said.
“Governments know that the imprisonment of activists – in Taiwan, we also have labour rights activists who have been imprisoned – will not stop people from participating in resistance movements. But what they have done is to tell society: ‘If you resist me, the stick will fall on your head – you will be imprisoned, you will be arrested, so don’t come out and resist… Today, let’s express our anger in the ways that we can… Are we angry? We are angry!”
On Tuesday, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights urged Taiwanese citizens to participate in a letter-writing campaign in support of the jailed Hong Kong activists. The organisation said it will deliver the letters and postcards to the Justice & Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese, which will arrange to pass them on to the relevant individuals.