Thousands Pay Tribute to a Deceased Protester in Hong Kong (in Photos)
With sunflowers in one hand and umbrellas in the other, thousands of people in Hong Kong participated in a memorial for a deceased protester of an extradition bill, which has sparked a series of mass demonstrations with millions of pro-democracy activists taking the streets just last month.
The man, Marco Leung, 35, became known as the “Raincoat Man” because of the yellow raincoat he was wearing when he plunged from a building to his death. Leung was hanging banners against the proposed legislation, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Those opposing the bill fear that Beijing‘s attempts to interfere with the semi-autonomous territory represent a threat to people’s rights.
“No extradition to China, total withdrawal of the extradition bill, we are not rioters, release the students and injured, Carrie Lam step down, help Hong Kong,” the banner read, according to local reports. While Hong Kong‘s leader, Carrie Lam, has suspended the legislation, calling it “dead,” protesters continue to press for its full withdrawal and Lam’s resignation.
In a message read during the memorial, Leung’s parents urged the youth at the forefront of this historical movement to keep the fight alive. “Every brave Hong Konger going to the streets is doing so because they love Hong Kong so much,” the message said. “Young people, please protect yourselves, and keep your body and soul together, then you have a chance to speak out about injustices in society.”
Thursday’s memorial for Leung followed a vigil held just last week for a woman who fell from a mall in one of four apparent suicides linked to the ongoing protests. As experts warn about a possible mental-health crisis and clashes between protesters and the police become increasingly contentious, some have turned to more peaceful demonstrations. This week, walls with colorful notes have taken over various parts of Hong Kong and are being called “Lennon walls,” in reference to a wall covered in political graffiti in Prague, in the Czech Republic.
According to Reuters, more protests are planned for this weekend.