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Malaysian activists show solidarity with pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong yesterday Lai Seng Sin/AP Images
Democracy

Dublin set for Hong Kong pro-democracy protest this evening

The protest will take place at 17.30 today outside the GPO on O’Connell Street.

THE PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS that have been taking place in Hong Kong over the last week are set to make their way onto the streets of Dublin this evening.

A peaceful demonstration will be held tonight outside of the GPO to show solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, pro-democracy campaigner and one of the organisers of this evening’s rally, Jackie Ho said: 

This very much is a turning point for Hong Kong – if they let this pass and just accept it – it could be the end of Hong Kong’s future as a democratic society – if they take away this right, what will they take away next?

On potential action by the Irish Government Ho went on to say:

I’d hope that the Irish Government would have the courage and the peace of mind to come out and make a statement saying that Ireland are fully behind full democratic elections and the demand for universal suffrage.

There are around 3,000 Irish citizens currently resident in Hong Kong. The Department of Foreign Affairs has encouraged individuals to factor in transport disruption and the use of tear gas in handling protesters when travelling.

There has been criticism over the heavy handed tactics, including the use of tear gas, deployed by the Chinese government in dealing with protesters.

The actions in Hong Kong have been dubbed the ‘Umbrella Protests’ due to the use of umbrellas by the protesters to defend against tear gas.

British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday described himself as being worried about the clashes that have occurred between those protesting and riot police in Hong Kong.

A spokesperson for German chancellor Angela Merkel expressed wishes that government forces in Hong Kong would act with consideration when dealing with protesters and that the rights of the citizens are upheld.

The protests began in Hong Kong on Sunday as a reaction to China’s central government’s plans to vet candidates competing in Hong Kong’s 2017 leadership election to limit selection to those loyal to the central government. 

Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997. Since then Hong Kong has existed as part of China under the ‘two systems, one country’ policy.

The protests today take place on China’s National Day which marks the establishment of the Chinese state by the Communist party. The day is a national holiday and as such the numbers of those involved in demonstrations in the semi-autonomous region are expected to rise.

The territory has its own mini constitution called ‘the Basic Law’ in which rights to freedom of speech, free press and freedom of religion are provisioned for.

Current leader of Hong Kong CY Leung has called on protesters to back electoral reforms being brought in by Beijing in the interest of progress.

The protest will take place between 5.30pm and 7.30pm this evening and around 100 people are expected to attend.

Read: Hong Kong Occupy leader says protests will spread ‘like flowers’

Also: Hong Kong protesters: “Nothing can stop us”

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