By Helene Fung
About 100 members of the local Hong Kong community participated in a peaceful rally from Elizabeth Quay to Murray Street Mall this afternoon.
In an exclusive interview with WAMN, rally organiser Tracy Pang acknowledged that the turnout today is a step down from some 500 people who joined a previous rally, which was held right after the Hong Kong police unleashed 150 tear gas canisters on to protesters.
She said it is understandable that some may feel a bit tired from protesting over two months, and that at the end of the day, she is still happy that many are still concerned enough to join today.
Ms Pang explained the rationale behind one of their demands – for the Australian government to issue an official travel warning to Hong Kong, as Australian tourists may be unwittingly caught in physical confrontations during protests in Hong Kong.
On the smarttraveller.gov.au web site, a paragraph had been added to the Hong Kong entry to advice that demonstrations are on-going; however it ended with “We have not changed our travel advice level – exercise normal safety precautions.”
Ms Pang further added that they know there is a limit to what they can do – they are respectful of Perth and are conscious not to make any mess during their rallies; but they would still like to voice out their support through rallies and through establishing a “Lennon Wall”*, as love letters to Hong Kong.
Ms Pang said that we can expect more protest activities until the Hong Kong Government officially withdraws the controversial extradition bill, establish an independent investigation into the use of force by the Hong Kong police, withdraw charges laid on protesters, and agree to implement universal suffrage.
Ms Pang acknowledges that this might not necessarily happen very soon, and hence wanted to bring the issues to the attention of the wider international community.
A “Lennon Wall” is basically a bulletin board for the public to express their thoughts on causes they believe in; it is named after a physical wall in Prague in the Czech Republic which received its first decoration following the 1980 assassination of John Lennon.
The idea was replicated back in 2014 during the “Umbrella Movement” protests in Hong Kong for real universal suffrage, and once again gained momentum in the recent protests.