25 February 2020
HKU professor Paul Yip says most participants wear uniforms and many do not speak Cantonese. Photo: HKEJ
HKU professor Paul Yip says most participants wear uniforms and many do not speak Cantonese. Photo: HKEJ

‘Protest against what?’ Many elderly come along on the march

Many elderly people joined the anti-Occupy Central rally on Sunday and some of them did not know what they were protesting against.

The Alliance for Peace and Democracy, which organized the march, claimed that 193,000 people took part in the march. 

Some seniors said they just came along on the march when asked by leaders of their associations, AM 730 reported.

“Protest against what? I am not sure,” one said.

Robert Chow Yung, the alliance spokesman, said there is no problem with not knowing the “Occupy Central movement” and it is fine for people to come to protest as they are afraid and do not want chaos in the city.

“They don’t have to answer 30 questions about the Occupy Central movement in order to join the protest.”

Protesters on Sunday came from all walks of life.

A 77-year-old man surnamed Lai travelled to Causeway Bay from Tai Po as he thought there is no reason to occupy Central and the most important thing is having a stable and happy life.

A mainlander surnamed He criticized the Occupy Central movement as non-patriotic.

A local university student from Guangzhou surnamed Sun said he took to the streets because he wants universal suffrage for Hong Kong but Occupy Central has torn society apart.

An organization formed by university and secondary school students joined the protest with a message: “I am 18 and I want to vote for the chief executive”.

They said there is no need to use violence to fight for universal suffrage and that is what sets them apart from the Occupy Central movement.

But many in the crowd did not complete the march but left somewhere along the route.

For this reason, Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai of the social work and social administration department of the University of Hong Kong, put the rally numbers at between 51,000 and 63,000 protesters.

Yip said he had two groups of researchers at Percival Street in Causeway Bay and Arsenal Street in Wan Chai. They recorded 55,000 people and 44,000 in the two places.

He interviewed 500 protesters at random and 5 percent said they joined in the middle of the march. So he estimated 57,000 people passed through Percival Street and Arsenal Street.

Compared with the police figure of 111,800, Yip said the difference may be due to the fact that some people left the protest once they got out of Victoria Park.

He said the Sunday protest was more organized than the July 1 rally as almost 80 percent of the protesters wore uniforms.

Occupy Central convenor Chan Kin-man said he respects residents participating in the rally and understands their worries.

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