Student activists in Sydney are collecting signatures for a second petition to the Hong Kong government this week, following a demonstration on Monday.
The ongoing public petition, organised by the Concordia Connect, a Hong Kong international student group, urges for universal suffrage in Hong Kong and has so far collected 800 signatures.
The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong began last week following Beijing’s proposal to implement a filtered election in 2017, where candidates for the city’s next leader will be pre-nominated by a pro-Beijing committee.
The movement has been affectionately branded the Umbrella Revolution, stemming from the protestors’ use of umbrellas as protective shields from the tear gas and pepper spray deployed by riot police.
Volunteer Michael Ma, 23, said they had been gathering signatures on a poster and umbrella, to be sent to the student protestors in Hong Kong for moral support.
“[Even] if we can’t go back to Hong Kong, at least [we can] show some support to tell them… people over here know what’s happening,” he said.
The first petition, held at universities across Sydney, was received by a representative from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) on Monday during the demonstration.
One organiser, Sharon Cheong, 21, said they had expected only 50 people to come to the demonstration but the turnout of 800 surprised everyone.
“We hope they (HKETO) will help us give [the petition] to the Hong Kong government,” she said.
In response to the petition, a spokesperson from the government body responded, saying that they had “forwarded them to Hong Kong.”
Local activist Paul Edwards, 47, from Auburn, wore a headband near the petition desk with the Chinese characters for democracy.
“I want to express my solidarity. I want to do anything I can think of to help the Hong Kong people get their freedom,” he said. – Alison Cheung
Top photo by Mohammad Rassawala.