Hong Kong protests over China extradition bill
Two Hong Kong-based adult websites are urging their users to join the protests against the extradition bill today.
The local section of website AV01 stopped its video offerings and urged its users to go out and protest.
A message posted on its website in English said: "Do you want to live the rest of your life looking over your shoulder? There will be no more safe place or security. The government has failed you, the system has failed you, the society has failed you, do you want to fail yourself? #HongKong #SaveOurCity #AntiExtraditionLaw #NoChinaExtradition."
And porn site ThisAV has a similar banner on its landing page. For the initial protest on June 9, when more than one million people came out to march against the bill, it urged its users to join the march.
It's not the first time that adult companies have come out in support of pro-democracy action. After the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown in 1989, Hong Kong porn magazines ran with the protests on their covers.
Protest leaders are rallying the crowds on Harcourt Road with speeches and chants.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu, who was disqualified from running in a local election in 2018 after officials questioned his stance on Hong Kong independence, led the crowd with chants of: “Full-scale civil disobedience, pull down Carrie Lam.”
Internet entrepreneur and lawmaker Charles Mok said police should treat Hong Kongers as their boss.
“Police go on strike," the crowd chanted.
Chairman of Democratic Party, Wu Chi-wai, said: “I appeal to everyone that this action must achieve the goal of getting the bill shelved. So please use your own methods to call on more people to come out.”
The Hong Kong Artist Union has called on the city’s cultural institutions and galleries to suspend operations on June 12 and allow employees to take part in Wednesday’s strike, should they choose.
According to an open letter, the proposed extradition law would “risk seriously eroding the freedom of expression on which the work of artists and cultural workers of all disciplines depend,” if passed.
“It also undermines the city’s reputation and credibility as an international art hub where ideas through freely.”
The letter was sent to M+, Tai Kwun and the Asia Society, among others.
Artist and union member, Wong Ka Ying told CNN that art spaces around the city had lent their support by closing for the day, or limiting operations so their workers could attend without being penalized.
Wong said the union was participating in the protest to help fight for freedom of speech.
“Many Hong Kong artworks are engaged in society, and related to politics. We don’t want to be sent to jail because of our works, or to be punished for showing (political) artworks. That is what has happened to artists in mainland China.”
Jimmy Sham, convener of the Hong Kong Civil Rights Front (CHRF) which organized the protest, has said they won't stop protesting until Chief Executive Carrie Lam shelves the extradition bill.
"We have created a peaceful scene of surrounding the Legislative Council, we have successfully stopped Andrew Leung (President of the Legislative Council) from having the meeting today," Sham said.
"This gathering will only end when Carrie Lam shelves the bill.
“We call on bigger companies, bigger organizations to support the strike, so all Hong Kong can come out and tell the world that we oppose the extradition law.”
Image shows police using pepper spray on a protester near the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell nearly 1.8% in afternoon trade, as protesters brought parts of the city’s financial district to a standstill.
Analysts say the dip was more likely tied to ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, and the fact that after soaring about 1,000 points in four days, the market was due for a correction.
Francis Lun, chief economist of GE Oriental Financial Group, said market reaction to the protests today will be similar to when the city was paralyzed by the Occupy demonstrations in 2014, a protracted period of protest also known as the Umbrella Movement.
Investors were “rattled a bit, but the stock market didn’t crash, the economy will keep on humming along, and as far as the political scene is concerned, China has control of everything. What can you do? Everyone will protest, but it will remain the same,” Lun said.
Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung, has given a televised address urging protesters to disperse, while defending the extradition law.
"The Legislative Council was scheduled to begin council meeting on the debate of extradition bill at 11 a.m., this morning, but because the parameters outside the council were blocked by mass crowds, the President of the Legislative Council indicated that the meeting will be postponed and held at a later time. Right now, multiple major traffic lanes in Admiralty are being blocked, causing major problems," said Cheung.
"The Government is calling on citizens who have occupied the roads to move back to the sidewalks, allowing traffic to return to normal. I am also calling on citizens who have gathered in the area to remain calm and restrained and to peacefully disperse as soon as possible, and do not break the law," said Cheung.
"The HK SAR Government would like to reiterate the extradition bill only targets fugitives who are charged with serious crimes and not for the law-abiding general public."
Heavy rain has had little effect on protestors, who number in the tens of thousands and continue to occupy the main roads around the Legislative Council building.
Protesters have put up their umbrellas to shelter from the rain -- but the humble umbrella is also a symbol of protests in Hong Kong.
During the 2014 mass democracy protests it was used to shield protesters from the tear gas and pepper spray deployed by police, becoming a ubiquitous sight on the frontlines, and giving the movement its name.
There's a strong sense of community spirit and cooperation within the protest camp, which has sprung up just hours after protesters blocked many of the main roads leading to the government headquarters.
In the sweltering Hong Kong humidity, deliveries of water are met with cheers. The same cheers greet groups of young men and women running through the crowds with material for the barricades, including anti-pepper spray googles.
Stations throughout the protest camp show how well prepared and experienced these young protesters are, handing out food, water, riot gear and medical supplies.