Date
21 September 2017
First-aid volunteers at the protest sites were themselves fired at with tear gas by riot police. Photo: EJ Insight
First-aid volunteers at the protest sites were themselves fired at with tear gas by riot police. Photo: EJ Insight

Police fire tear gas at medical volunteers

Police fired tear gas at volunteer first-aid teams providing medical service for pro-democracy activists, Ming Pao reported on Monday.

“Police have fired tear gas on the temporary aid station beside the Red Cross many times. Then we retreated to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, which agreed to offer the place for 24 hours for rest and medical aid,” a medical volunteer named Charmaine said in her facebook account.

“However, police called shortly after we started operation. And we were told leave before 12 a.m., or the police would break in after that and we would be treated as [among the protesters] as well. There are rumors that police would start shooting at the crowd after 12. So we were forced to leave,” she said.

“It’s the first time I felt so frightened and sad to see police on the streets. I felt unspeakable sorrow as I watched the clashes between the protesters and the police,” she said, adding that they felt so “hopeless” as they tried to look for a safe place where they could treat the injured.

The medical team of the Occupy Central movement released a statement condemning the police for obstructing rescue efforts.

“They did not provide any assistance, and even obstructed medical staff from carrying out first-aid treatment on the scene. The police fired tear gas at the medical staff, and prevented them from entering the protest sites,” the statement said.

“We feel extremely angry and perplexed,” it said, adding that the medical team is made up of volunteers from the medical and healthcare sector, including professors, doctors, nurses, medical students and other professionals.

“The medical team has been neutral as far as the movement is concerned. We are trying to provide care and help for anyone in need. We understand and feel grateful for police efforts in keeping order, but they have obstructed our rescue efforts many times, which is a disregard for life,” the team said.

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JZ/JP/CG

Freelance journalist

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