Photos: Thousands of Hongkongers gather to protest missing booksellers

Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to protest against the disappearances of five booksellers. Demonstrators demanded that China hold up the tenets of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and release the whereabouts of the five men, who all worked with a publisher known for its controversial books on China’s past and present leaders.

A group of police and reporters leading the march towards Central

Protesters marched from the Central Government Offices in Admiralty to the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan. Organisers estimate as many as 6,000 people turned out for the march, while police say the march yielded around 3,500 protesters.

Scholarism leader Joshua Wong gives an interview during the march

Prominent figures from 2014’s historic Occupy Central movement, such as Scholarism’s Joshua Wong and District Councillor Paul Zimmerman, were in attendance.

Protesters carried handmade signs and placards, often sporting photographs of the missing men.

Members of People Power marching along Queen’s Road Central

In total, 48 groups, including People Power and The League of Social Democrats, joined the protest, carrying their flags and chanting slogans like “Today’s Lee Bo is you and me tomorrow.”

Members of the League of Social Democrats marching along Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan

The booksellers, all of whom were associated with Causeway Bay publisher Mighty Current, began disappearing in late 2015. Publisher Lee Bo, who was the fifth man to disappear, is widely believed to have been abducted from Hong Kong by mainland agents. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, CY Leung, said such an incident would be an “unacceptable” breach of the Basic Law.

A protester carries a sign demanding for information on the whereabouts of the booksellers

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told a regular news briefing, “We share the concern of the people of Hong Kong regarding these disappearances.” Kirby added that the United States was closely following the issue, echoing the earlier remarks of Philip Hammond, the British Foreign Secretary, and comments made by the British embassy in Beijing.

Hammond, who recently visited Beijing, said that if speculation that Lee was abducted by mainland forces is true, such an action would be “an egregious breach of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the basic law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

A protester handing out yellow ribbons

Our Coconuts HK photographer reported a “heavy police presence” as the march neared the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan, but spirits were not dampened as protesters were handed yellow ribbons to tie on the barricades.

Watch Coconuts TV’s exclusive footage of the march below:


Thousands march over missing Hong Kong booksellers on Sunday

Did you join the march yesterday?

Posted by Coconuts Hong Kong on Monday, 11 January 2016


Photos: Adrian Lo

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