A U.S. Consulate representative (left) receives a letter from protesters as people march from Charter Garden to the US consulate in Hong Kong. AP
Hundreds of people in Hong Kong on Sunday marched to the US consulate to show “gratitude” to the United States for supporting anti-government protests in the Asian financial center for nearly six months.
Participants waved the American flag, some wore hats and T-shirts with slogans in support of US President Donald Trump. Some also held up a banner reading “President Trump, please free Hong Kong.”
Last week Trump signed legislation passed by Congress supporting the protesters despite Beijing’s angry objections.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of protesters marched against police using tear gas, including families with their children. Protesters flocked through the downtown business district to the government headquarters on Hong Kong’s main island, carrying yellow balloons and waving banners reading “No tear gas and save our children.”
The city has been relatively calm over the past week, but activists have vowed to maintain the momentum of the protest movement. Three marches are planned for Sunday after all have been approved by the authorities.
Anti-government protests have shaken the former British colony since June, sometimes forcing government offices, businesses, schools and even the international airport to close. The city’s security minister, Joon Lee, said a few days ago that police had fired about 10,000 tear gas bombs since June.
Sunday’s rallies come after a senior Hong Kong official said the government was considering setting up an independent commission to review how to tackle the crisis, which is increasingly violent in demonstrations. The demonstrators are angry at what they see as China’s interference in the freedoms it promised to give to the former British colony upon its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing denies the interference and reiterates its adherence to the “one country, two systems” formula that has existed since then and blames outside powers for fueling the violence.
On Saturday, high school students and retirees marched to protest against what they called police brutality and illegal arrests. Saturday’s marches were largely peaceful, but RTHK public station said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters after a rally outside the Prince Edward subway station to pay homage to some of those killed in the protests. Police three months ago. Police deny the account.