Tens of thousands of policemen staged a rally in Mong Kok on Wednesday to protest the jailing of seven officers for assault on a democracy activist.
The mass action, which was held at a football field, was jointly organized by the Junior Police Officers Association (JPOA) and the Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association (HKPIA).
The officers were joined by ordinary citizens who had formed a queue extending to the MTR Prince Edward Station in Nathan Road, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Many of them were in white as suggested by the organizers, some with “Fight for justice” on their chests.
The number of attendees, including active and retired policemen and their families, as well as several pro-establishment lawmakers, was estimated at 33,000 and as many as 38,000 at peak time, according to Lee Jim-on, who chairs the HKPIA.
Joe Chan, chairman of the JPOA, told the assembly that he visited the seven policemen in jail and saw them in good mental condition, adding that they wanted to appeal their case.
He said Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) who is also JPOA’s founding president, is leading a crowdfunding effort to raise funds for the planned appeal.
The officers were convicted of assault on activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 democracy protests and sentenced to two years in jail.
Chan expressed confidence the policemen will be cleared of all charges and released from prison through the judicial process.
He said the mass action was not intended to put any pressure on the government.
On Thursday, the JPOA and the HKPIA will send a letter to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to demand legislation to protect public servants from insults.
Former Security chief Regina Ip, leader of the New People’s Party, told the audience such legislation would be difficult to achieve even as she agreed that the sentence on the seven officers was too harsh.
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