Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed solidarity with pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, especially the youth, against the police siege on the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) which has been occupied by protesters for days.
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, made the statement as Hong Kong police continue to lay siege on the Hong Kong PolyU where student and youth protesters remain holed up while trying to break free from the police siege.
“I express my solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, especially its courageous youth and students, in their struggle for greater democracy and meaningful freedom amidst China’s authoritarian exertion of its control over the autonomous region,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 648.
“A people thirsting for real democracy, instead of being ruled from Beijing, deserve the solidarity and support of the free world, even those who, like us Filipinos, are again under the yoke of a tyrant who has discarded the rule of law and destroyed our democracy,” she added.
Since June, Hong Kong has been plagued by protests, which started as demonstrations against an extradition bill which has eventually been withdrawn. The demonstrations, however, continued, having evolved into a broader protest movement against alleged police brutality and calls for full democratic rights for Hong Kongers.
Earlier this week, dozens of protesters were arrested by police officers as they attempted to run from Hong Kong PolyU where they stayed for days. While minors were reportedly allowed to leave the campus without being arrested, adults were said to have been detained on the spot.
As of this writing, about 100 protesters reportedly remain barricaded inside the Hong Kong university campus surrounded by police who are aiming to arrest them.
“Hong Kong activists fear that this siege is the start of a new level of attack on protesters, probably one even leading to another Tiananmen, as China exerts its authority over Hong Kong and its people,” De Lima said.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the Filipinos could easily relate with the plight of Hongkongers who continue to fight for their freedom because Filipinos once fought to restore the country’s democracy by toppling the Marcos dictatorship.
“All freedom-loving Filipinos only know too well what the people of Hong Kong are going through. The same demonstration of people power that liberated us from a dictatorship more than 33 years ago is now happening in Hong Kong,” she said.
De Lima, who is marking her 1,000th day in detention today, maintained that Filipinos should “do everything in the power of our solidarity as freedom-loving people of the world” to prevent another massacre from happening in Hong Kong.
“As Duterte is to us Filipinos, the Communist Party of China is to the Hong Kong people the authoritarian figure that cannot be allowed to go on suppressing the people’s clamor for freedom and democracy, in what they call the revolution of their time,” she said.
“Liberate Hong Kong! Never again to Tiananmen! Fight and resist #Tiananmen2019!” she added. (senate.gov.ph)