As hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people continue their resistance at home – several hundreds Hong Kong supporters have taken the protests in other cities too. In response, just like Newton’s third law, several pro-China protesters also took out rallies – in two cities, they clashed too.
Several pro-Hong Kong protesters gathered outside the State Library on Swanston Street in Melbourne around 7 p.m. on Friday. A group of pro-China supporters arrived at the scene, after which clashes broke out. Police were called to break the violence.
Similarly, on Saturday more than a hundred people re-gathered at the same spot for a peaceful rally in solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong. Among them were members of Melbourne’s Uyghur community, Tibetan and Vietnamese groups. Police were monitoring the rally closely, and had to deter several pro-China commentators from intervening. Pro-Hong Kong rallies were held in Adelaide and Brisbane as well.
Similarly, a pro-China march in Sydney included at least 200 protesters descending on the city’s Town Hall chanting “Long Live China” and singing the Chinese national anthem.
In Toronto, police were called in to help maintain order as thousands of protesters gathered in Toronto – both pro-Hong Kong and pro – China. Tensions ran high as the two sides tried to drown out each other with shouts of “One China” and “Hong Kong belongs to China” coming from the pro-China group and “no-violence” and “democratic reform’ from the pro-Hong Kong side.
Hong Kong is gripped in tension since the onset of the protests ten weeks ago – what had started as a protest against one particular bill has now widened to highlight several other grievances – the autonomy of the people of Hong Kong at its crux. The increasingly violent protests have plunged the Chinese-ruled territory into its most serious crisis in decades.