Hong Kong activist group Demosisto has condemned a male security guard who allegedly sat on a female protester whilst restraining her during a protest against a controversial extradition law amendment.
The government has, in turn, criticised the group after a guard was injured during the incident at government headquarters on Friday.
The group led a charge into the East Wing of the Central Government Offices on Friday morning. It turned into a sit-in protest as the demonstrators sought to hand protest letters to Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng and Secretary for Security John Lee.
Nine protesters were arrested on suspicion of forcible entry, including six Demosisto members and a volunteer, as well as two Lingnan University students. They were released on bail on Friday evening.
FB Live Replay: Several arrests at government headquarters as activists protest a potential new extradition law.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) March 15, 2019
When meeting reporters outside the Police Headquarters in Admiralty, Demosisto Secretary-General Joshua Wong condemned the Administration Wing’s security guard for his actions: “This is extremely offensive and abusive. It is also rude,” he said.
The protesters were opposing a legal amendment which would allow the city to handle extradition requests from jurisdictions where there are no pre-existing agreements – most notably from mainland China and Taiwan.
Wong said the protest was peaceful and non-violent. He said the two top officials were not willing to take their protest letter, even though the group protested against them face to face several times this week.
“The government is not willing to listen to our opposing views,” Wong said.
He said that the two officials had refused to answer whether Hong Kong people could receive a fair trial if they were extradited to the mainland. Wong added that the government had also made no commitment to reveal the 4,500 opinions it collected in a public consultation apparently in support of the legal amendments.
The government strongly condemned Demosisto for intruding into the government premises and blocking the lobby, “despite advice and warnings issued by security personnel at the scene.”
It said a female security guard was injured and admitted to hospital.
“The Government respects the rights of the public to express their views, but the effective, secure and smooth operation of the CGO should be safeguarded at the same time. As the headquarters of the Government and working place of government officials, the CGO [Central Government Office] has never been part of the area designated for public meetings or processions,” a spokesperson said.
Wong said there were around 30 guards present at the protest, compared to nine protesters. “Objectively, we could not cause any blockage,” he said.