A protester who has been on the front lines at rallies against the Hong Kong government’s controversial extradition bill held a media briefing on Monday and spoke of his determination and the sacrifices people were prepared to make to get their government to listen to the people.
Chris Chan, a representative of the protesters who has spent long hours confronting riot police, said the repeated exposure to tear gas had affected the health of many, causing shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, retching and blistering skin, the Apple Daily reported.
At least 10 people he knew were beaten by police, resulting in bone fractures of various degrees, he added.
Chan, who was born and raised in Hong Kong and lives with his family which is pro-government, said he felt trapped not being able to tell the truth to his loved ones, who strongly believe the protesters have been hired, despite the fact that up to two million people have engaged in the various forms of civil disobedience in the past several weeks.
After more than 800 arrests, Chan estimated that the number of those on the frontlines has been cut to 200 or 300.
He blamed the government for using violence against protesters, a claim officials deny. He used, as an example, the official claim that it was a “natural reaction” for an officer to kick a kneeling, unarmed man – a Christian pastor trying to protect the crowd from gun-wielding officers who seemed to be emotionally distressed.
While the government has dubbed the protesters rioters, Chan said the police force were the biggest offenders. He admitted that Molotov cocktails had been used by some protesters, but said they were a means of defense to create a buffer to buy more time to evacuate the area.
Chan claimed the so-called dialogue platform proposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam was also a manipulative means of splitting the protesters, luring the general public and the peaceful protesters to give in, as well as discrediting or smearing the protesters by blaming them for all the inconvenience and turbulence created.
He said he had prepared to make sacrifices, as “police bullets had no eyes.” He added that he would donate his money to support other protesters, and if he gets put in jail, he would not give up his studies.