‘Gear up!’: Organizers insist Yuen Long march will be peaceful as activists circulate ‘battle plan’

A view of Castle Peak Road, which runs between Yuen Long Police station and Yuen Long MTR. Photo via Google Maps.
A view of Castle Peak Road, which runs between Yuen Long Police station and Yuen Long MTR. Photo via Google Maps.

As anti-government protesters circulate an “ultimate battle plan” online advocating vandalism and street brawls at a proposed protest in Yuen Long this weekend, politicians on both sides of Hong Kong’s widening political divide are warning of the potential for further bloodshed following white-shirted thugs’ attacks on protesters at the local MTR station on Sunday night.

Max Chung, a resident in Yuen Long, has applied for a “letter of no objection” from police permitting the Saturday protest, RTHK reports, and another Tuen Mun resident helping to plan the march, Michael Mo, has asked that it begin near the local police station and end at the Yuen Long MTR station.

Despite asking that the march end at the scene of Sunday’s shocking violence, Mo told the SCMP that the protest will be “peaceful, rational and non-violent.”

Online activists, however, appear to have different ideas. Users of the largely anonymous local forum LIHKG are circulating what they are calling the “ultimate battle plan” for the Saturday protest, detailing strategies for transportation, communication, and grouping.

One post, from a widely-followed handle, said the protest was to “fight against the ‘white terror’ that the government spreads, and to tell them that we are not afraid.”

“We should do what we are familiar with near the village: throw eggs, spray paint, whatever,” it continues. “If the villagers come out, don’t even hesitate — beat them until they can’t even recognize their own mothers’ graves. The most important thing when visiting the village is to gear up!”

Meanwhile, a group of around 10 villagers went to the Yuen Long Police Station to refuse to issue the “letter of no objection” for the anti-extradition protesters, Apple Daily reports. Section 14 of Hong Kong’s Public Order Ordinance grants the police commissioner the right to reject applications for gatherings “if he reasonably considers that the objection is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

Lawmakers from both the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps were quick to warn of the risk of violence, albeit some in less dovish terms than others.

“Thousands of villagers will come after you, you will not make it out,” pro-establishment lawmaker and village leader Leung Che-cheung said of those who intended to enter the villages and cause trouble, according to the SCMP.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who also represents the area, appeared to be the voice of reason today, calling on protesters last night not to seek revenge for the Yuen Long clashes by damaging property and picking fights.

https://www.facebook.com/chuhoidick/photos/a.203826656349933/2352536464812264/?type=3&theater

“We shouldn’t turn our anger over the [July 21] riots into attacking the villages, ancestral halls, and graves,” he said in a Facebook post. “Many inhabitants, in fact, do not agree with the behavior [of the assailants] on 21 July. If protesters attack the ancestral halls, it is like declaring a war on the villagers. We should not make the villagers our enemies.”

The proposed march in Yuen Long wasn’t the only plan being floated by the city’s anti-government protesters.

One such plan being circulated online is for staffers from the airline industry to assemble in Arrival Hall 5, Terminal One of Hong Kong International Airport on Friday in an expression of solidarity with the city’s protest movement.

“Many airline employees need to work on shifts most of the time, or even work outside of Hong Kong,” reads an LIHKG post from the organizer of the gathering, who also claimed to be an airline worker. “Due to the nature of our work, we are not unable to attend every demonstration, but we are also angry at the Hong Kong government for their cold and violent acts. Through this demonstration, we hope to express the views of those working in the air transport sector to the public.”

The organizer said a “letter of no objection” for the event is currently being processed.

Meanwhile, after deeming activists’ disruptions of MTR service on the Island Line this morning a success, protesters are planning on reprising the tactic at Kowloon Tong MTR station tomorrow, according to posts on LIHKG. The disruptions are meant to protest what protesters characterize as the MTR’s inadequate efforts to protect passengers in Yuen Long on Sunday.

In fact, a group on the messaging app Telegram dedicated orchestrating MTR disruptions has already attracted more than 5,000 members.

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