Thousands gathered at Edinburgh Place in Central on Sunday, reiterating the protest movement’s demands and urging the international community to sanction the city should they not be met.
Organiser Ventus Lau said the government should respond and implement universal suffrage for the Legislative Council election later this year.
“Otherwise, we hope the international community will issue sanctions, including the US enforcing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, as well as Europe and Australia enacting their own laws to impose sanctions punishing Hong Kong officials who violate human rights,” he said.
The organiser said 36,000 attended the event, billed as an “anti-communist” rally.
The police said 3,000 attended at the event’s peak.
Large-scale protests have continued for more than seven months. Initially against a now-withdrawn extradition bill, demonstrators are now demanding an investigation into police conduct, unconditional release of all arrested protesters, a retraction of the “riot” characterisation of protests and full democracy.
Lau said Hong Kong people wished to have the right to elect their leader, like in Taiwan where the presidential and the legislative elections took place on Saturday.
“We need to know that the right [to vote] did not just fall from the sky. They fought for democracy and freedom with blood and tears. That’s why Hong Kong people cannot give up,” he said.
Hundreds of protesters gather in Central on Sunday afternoon for a rally calling for international sanctions against #HongKong and Chinese government. Groups lobbying for global support take turns to report on work they have done. pic.twitter.com/KTxBmWmJAs
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) January 12, 2020
National flags, as well as black protest flags and those advocating Hong Kong independence, were seen among the crowds.
The gathering was a precursor to this Sunday’s “Universal siege on communists march” which will begin in Central and end in Causeway Bay.
Activists representing different groups of overseas Hongkongers also spoke at the rally, including those from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Taiwan.
Angie Te, a law student, told attendees that she and a group of 20 lawyers and law students sent a report to the United Nations late last year accusing the police of brutal treatment of protesters.
One report was sent to the UN’s Committee Against Torture, and four more reports will be written on the topics of sexual abuse against women, the rights of young people and children, the rights of disabled people, and political rights, Te said.
“This is not our endpoint. We are liaising with NGOs of different countries, as we hope to build this into a campaign against police brutality and bring it to different countries to put pressure on the government,” she said.
The rally ended at around 5pm.
Later in the evening, a group of 20 people went to the British Consulate in Admiralty.
A protester was arrested outside the building on Saturday as a group created a “Lennon Wall” pro-democracy message board. A protester told Ming Pao on Sunday that the arrested woman was only placing sticky notes on the consulate’s wall and did not cause any damage.
On Sunday, some demonstrators were searched by riot police, and a woman was arrested outside the nearby Pacific Place mall on Supreme Court Road.
Protesters have been holding vigil outside the consulate since last November.