Date
22 September 2017
Student leaders (R) have criticized the violent attempt by a group of people to break into the legislature building early Wednesday. Photo:inmediahk, HKEJ
Student leaders (R) have criticized the violent attempt by a group of people to break into the legislature building early Wednesday. Photo:inmediahk, HKEJ

Student groups condemn LegCo break-in

Student groups have condemned Wednesday’s break-in at the Legislative Council by a group of people, saying the action of those few people has jeopardized the safety of other protesters.

“We are confused… and cannot understand the motive behind the action,” Ming Pao Daily quoted Alex Chow, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), as saying.

The student leader said he was at a meeting and did not find out about the break-in until an hour after it had started.

“Different people may have different views on the protest,” he said. “There is room to improve communication.”

A small group of people launched a surprise assault at the Legislative Council in the early hours of Wednesday, using metal barricades and concrete tiles to smash through a glass door at the building.

Police then used pepper spray and batons to prevent others from storming the building.

Lester Shum, deputy secretary general of HKFS, said the protesters may have been misled into thinking that the legislature was preparing to discuss an internet-related bill today.

The people may have mistakenly believed that the LegCo was set to have a second reading of the so-called Cyberspace Article 23, he said. 

“We hope all protesters stick to the principle of peaceful, non-violent action,” Shum said, adding that people should not act blindly and jeopardize the cause of other protesters.

Joshua Wong, convenor of the student group Scholarism, said he was “confused” by the action early Wednesday.

The people who broke into the LegCo building have left the scene but the protesters who remain in streets have been put at risk, he said.

“The aim of civil-disobedience movement is to shoulder responsibility and ensure safety for participants,” he said.

The Hong Kong government has strongly condemned the attack, which left three police officers injured.

“Citizens have to obey the law while expressing their views. The government will not tolerate any violence,” a government spokesperson said, describing the incident as “an act by rioters”.

Six people have been detained in connection with the incident and more arrests are expected as the police are continuing their investigation.

Pan-democratic legislators also condemned the break-in, with Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong saying the use of violence goes against the spirit of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

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JZ/MY/RC

Freelance journalist

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