Hong Kong hospital workers protest against police violence

Hong Kong hospital workers protest against police violence

Hong Kong hospital protest 2
A nurse with her one-eye covered takes part in a solidarity protest at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong on Aug 13, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Manan VATSYAYANA)

HONG KONG: More than 100 medical workers assembled at Hong Kong's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other public hospitals, on Tuesday (Aug 13) in a silent protest to show their discontent with heavy-handed police tactics during recent protests.

The protests took place at the same time as protesters were attempting to block flight departures and arrivals at Hong Kong International Airport. 

Many hospital workers were seen wearing face masks and patches covering their right eye, a symbolic gesture inspired by the image of a woman reportedly hit in the eye by a beanbag round fired by police during clashes on Sunday night.

Anti-extradition bill protesters attend a mass demonstration after a woman was shot in the eye duri
Anti-extradition Bill protesters attend a mass demonstration after a woman was shot in the eye during a protest at Hong Kong International Airport, in Hong Kong, China Aug 12, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

READ: More than 5,000 protesters at Hong Kong airport - Police

Police initially said that they had no evidence that suggests the injury was caused by their officers, but on Tuesday said that they would investigate the matter.

FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM

"The medical workers coming out today are here to fight to get our freedoms back, and to protect the freedoms of others", said 24-year-old nurse Alfred Luk to Reuters, adding that police coming into hospitals to arrest people affects the trust towards medical workers and the hospitals themselves.

Another nurse, 23-year-old Harry Yeung told Reuters: "I think that everything the police have done has been marked by too much violence. The damage to the citizens has been severe, and as a medical worker I don't want to see any people get injured." 

"Seeing this situation, I myself feel the impact strongly," he added.

Hong Kong hospital protest 2
Nurses and medical staff take part in a solidarity protest at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong on Aug 13, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Manan VATSYAYANA)

The protests, coming into their 10th week, have become increasingly violent with police firing tear gas into an MTR station and protesters hurling bricks and lobbing petrol bombs over the weekend.  

Officials said 45 people were hurt in the weekend clashes between police officers and protesters at nearly a dozen locations across the city.

READ: As it happened: Hong Kong police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at protesters as violence erupts

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when the territory returned to China in 1997. 

They are calling on the government to listen to public demands, in particular the call for an independent investigation into the handling of the protests.

But Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has consistently ruled out meeting the protesters' demands, which include the right to choose their next leader.

The protests have infuriated Beijing, which described some of the violent demonstrations as "terrorism".

Source: Agencies/nr(hm)

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