Soccer fans chanted slogans, sang protest songs, and waved anti-government banners during a friendly match between English Premier League champions Manchester City and local club Kitchee Sports Club.
Fans started singing the chorus of Do You Hear the People Sing?, from the musical Les Miserables, during the game’s 21st minute, a nod to July 21, the night scores of pro-democracy protesters, journalists, and unsuspecting commuters were viciously attacked at Yuen Long MTR station by a mob of rod- and cane-wielding men in white shirts, some with triad links.
The match, which took place at Hong Kong Stadium in Causeway Bay last night, saw the local side lose 6-1, but that didn’t put a damper on members of the crowd chanting slogans like “no extradition to China” and “Hong Kong is not China.”
#HongKong #AntiELAB protesters & #football fans sing Do You Heat the People Sing? & chant “Free #HK” as local side Kitchee host @premierleague champions @ManCity in a friendly at the Hong Kong Stadium. City won 6-1. pic.twitter.com/isVOZZizVX
— Damon Pang (@damon_pang) July 24, 2019
HK01 reported that police and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which runs the stadium, had to step up security ahead of the match.
The outlet also reported that two hours before the game, volunteers were also seen distributing fliers and leaflets with the lyrics for the English and Cantonese versions of Do You Hear The People Sing.
Meanwhile, outside of the stadium, about 100 people congregated to chant “free Hong Kong!”
This is not the first time a soccer match has been targeted by pro-democracy protesters. In 2015, protesters regularly booed the Chinese national anthem at World Cup qualifying matches, which resulted not only in FIFA handing down a fine to the city’s soccer authorities, but also in the Hong Kong government introducing a controversial national anthem bill that would make it a criminal offense to insult the March of the Volunteers.