As pro-democracy demonstrations continue in Hong Kong, thousands of people took part in rallies across several Australian cities,on Friday and Saturday,in support of the Hong Kong protests.
In Melbourne, attendees numbered over one thousand as Hong Kong supporters stood peacefully on the steps of the State Library of Victoria . In a show of support the “Stand with Hong Kong-Power to the People” rally carried signs calling for democracy and freedom and an end to the apparent police brutality in Hong Kong. Members of the Tibetan, Uighur and Vietnamese communities also attended in support.
In addition to the five requests from the Hong Kong protests, the Australian rallies called for two additional requests. Firstly for the UK to declare a Chinese breach; of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, and secondly for the U.S. and the UK to legislate and impose sanctions upon the persons responsible for or complicit in the suppression of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
Friday's pro-Hong Kong rally in Melbourne turned violent when a group of at least 100 pro-Chinese Communist party demonstrators arrived chanting slogans and resorting to scuffles in order to intimidate on the Hong Kong supporters.
As clashes between both sides intensified, State police formed a barricade between both groups, however, the chanting and shouting from both sides continued.
Unified chants from the pro-Hong Kong side such as “We will not give in,” “Stand with Hong Kong,” and “Free Hong Kong” could be heard, while on the pro- CCP side, “One China,” as well as other slogans, were heard.
Footage captured shows an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) cameraman attacked by a pro-CCP demonstrator who sought to damage the camera—the demonstrator was then pulled back and restrained by bystanders.
According to The Epoch Times , Richard Bradford, a retired I.T. Professional, attending the event was appalled by the behavior demonstrated by the pro-CCP group.
Bradford said: “It’s disappointing to see a small group over there pretending to support mainland China when they’re really supporting a small band of violent thugs,”
“Unfortunately, the small group of thugs in China have already proven themselves as violent suppressors. They’re doing nasty things over in the Uyghur territory, they’re still trying to bully Taiwan, they are bullying the people up in Tibet.”
Ruan (Frank) Jie, an editor at Tiananmen Times, said that the Chinese consulate was most likely behind the pro-CCP demonstrators who have been “taught the wrong things.”
“They come here, they don’t know how to pay respect to the freedom of the other people, and they don’t know how to respect the other group of people,” Frank told The Epoch Times.
“These people are very rude. You can see they are very aggressive.”
Due to security concerns, the rally was shortened to only a few speeches and a 2nd rally was organised the following day.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed to SBS News that two men were interviewed on Friday in relation to unlawful assault, before being released pending summons.
The Police spokeswoman added that: "We respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully but will not tolerate those who break the law or engage in antisocial or violent behaviour," she said.