Bersih 2.0 condemns violence in HK pro-democracy protests

Radzi Razak
Protesters run from police at the bus terminal at Hong Kong International Airport on September 1, 2019. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 ― The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) called upon both the protesters and the authorities to stop using violence in the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The group warned that violence among protesters risked harming their bid for greater democracy from the Chinese government.

“As such, we cannot condone any acts of violence by any party, be it the police or any segments of protesters in Hong Kong.

“We are extremely concerned that the violent acts of a minority but more radical group of protesters are delegitimizing the legitimate rights of the majority to hold peaceful protests in order to make known their discontent,” the NGO said in a statement.

As part of a global pro-democracy movement, Bersih 2.0 urged all parties including the politicians, civil society groups and authorities to seek common ground and avoid another “Tiananmen Square”, referring to violent crackdown of student protest by Chinese government in 1989.

“It would be tragic for Hong Kong, China and the rest of the world if this crisis ends up in a bloody crackdown ala Tiananmen.

“As such a political and sustainable solution must be found that addresses the economic marginalisation and political alienation experienced by ordinary citizens of Hong Kong that fuel this protest,” the group said.

On September 1, Bersih 2.0 released a statement calling Hong Kong authorities to release 10 individuals who were arrested as they are believed to be mastermind for banned August 31 rally.

Millions of Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets in protests since mid-June originally to protest against proposed anti-extradition Bill.

Tensions continued to rise as increasing footage of both the authorities and protesters battle out in the streets of the former British Colony as accusations from Beijing that Western powers acted behind the protesters.

Observers also raised concern over the possibility of China Army using force to quell the protest before the 0th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1.

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