HONG KONG (AFP) – Government supporters took to the streets of downtown Hong Kong yesterday after a chaotic working week saw hardcore activists cause widespread disruption in the city and stretch police resources.
A ‘Blossom Everywhere’ campaign of roadblocks and vandalism across the semi-autonomous financial hub shut down large chunks of the train network and forced schools and shopping malls to close.
Students and protesters occupied several major universities around the city – the first time a movement characterised by its fluidity and unpredictability has coagulated in fixed locations – although the numbers thinned out on Friday.
Yesterday morning, a group of some 500 people, mostly middle-aged and senior citizens, rallied outside the Hong Kong government’s headquarters to show support for the police, who have been heavily
criticised over their handling of the crisis. Waving flags and posters, they chanted slogans including “support police to enforce law solemnly”.
The demonstrators took photos with the stationed riot police and gave them thumbs-up signs. Thousands of office workers took to the streets this week in Central, Hong Kong’s financial heart, showing their support of the movement by raising an open hand with five fingers splayed – a reference to the five protester demands.
The Hong Kong government, however, warned its employees they will be suspended if they are caught taking part in protests.
“I must emphasise that the government has zero tolerance for civil servants violating the law,” Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law said in a press conference.
“Civil servants must not participate in any illegal activities, including illegal protest gatherings.”