A group of 14 anti-extradition bill protesters – on the 12th day of their hunger strike – were unsuccessful in their bid to speak to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Monday night after they marched to Government House with thousands of other protesters.
The hunger strikers, some of whom had been fasting for more than 300 hours, started the from Admiralty Centre in Admiralty at 7pm and marched to the chief executive’s office on Lower Albert Road. Organizers said 2,400 people joined the march.
No government officials or government representative met with the protesters.
They demanded to speak to the city chief over the ongoing extradition bill saga and said the government had not responded to their demands over the month-long protest.
One of the hunger strikers read out a letter by the oldest striker, 73-year-old Chan Ki-kau, who wrote that he was heartbroken when he saw the clashes in Sha Tin on Sunday. He called for an end to the violence and said tensions between the protesters and the police were like “people hitting their own people.”
Chan visited Sha Tin on Sunday night when he learned the disputes between police and protesters had escalated. He stood in front of a group of riot police officers and then sat on the floor with a banner to stop police charging the protesters.
On Monday he also appealed to young protesters to treasure their lives, citing a slogan used by the protesters, “we come together and leave together.”
Chan has lived in Ma Shi Po, a village in the north of Fanling, New Territories, for three decades. He had been actively involved in opposing the government’s controversial development plan on Northeastern New Territories. His daughter is also one of the hunger strikers.
When marchers arrived at Government House about 9pm with some of the weakening hunger strikers in wheelchairs, they handed a petition to a police representative and requested to speak to Carrie Lam.
One of the hunger strikers, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, a lawmaker from the Labor Party, said he had contacted Eric Chan Kwok-ki, director of the chief executive’s office, about the meeting request. However, the protesters could not contact Chan after waiting for 30 minutes.
The hunger strikers returned to Admiralty Center, the base of the strike and continued their fasting. But due to his worsening health condition, Chan finally agreed to stop fasting on Monday night.
Another march initiated by a group of elderly people may take place on Wednesday night, pending police approval.
A retired teacher, surnamed Tam, said the march is a way for them to support the young people in Hong Kong who have been fighting hard against an unjust political system.
Tam said the group had submitted a public processions application last Tuesday and had discussed the route with police but have not received a reply yet. He urged police to approve the application as soon as possible.
The march is due to start at 5pm on Wednesday in Chater Garden in Central. It will proceed to government headquarters in Admiralty.