Civil Human Rights Front leader Jimmy Sham has accused the police of acting in a “highly unprofessional manner” towards protesters and himself after frontline officers allegedly called him a “f**got” during Sunday’s rally.
Speaking to reporters in Central last night at the Chater Road and Pedder Street intersection, Sham — who is openly gay — said that he was heading towards a police line on Queen’s Road Central when he became concerned that police would charge, so he went forward to tell officers to keep the intersection open for protesters to gather and disperse.
“When I got to the front, a lot of frontline officers told protesters to leave immediately, then some of them looked at me and called me a f**got,” He said.
Sham went on to describe the behavior as “highly unprofessional,” adding “they must have recognized me, otherwise they wouldn’t have used that slur.”
CHRF vice-convenor Figo Chan also accused police of intimidating protesters by charging towards them, prematurely raising a blue flag declaring the rally an illegal assembly even though the letter of no objection stated that they had permission to march until 10pm. He also said police made it difficult for some protesters to leave by blocking off roads.
Sham’s comments come shortly after the organization announced that around 800,000 people had turned up for Sunday’s Human Rights Day march from Victoria Park to Central. Police put the peak size of the crowd at 183,000 people.
Sunday’s march went by relatively peacefully, with the vast majority of people dispersing at the rally’s endpoint on Chater Road. However, some protesters did spray paint graffiti and throw petrol bombs outside the High Court and the Court of Final Appeal.
The police have classified the case as arson, while the Department of Justice said the incident “not only disrupted social peace, but also undermined Hong Kong’s reputation as a city governed by the rule of law.”
More protests are anticipated today to mark the six-month anniversary of the first major anti-extradition bill rally that drew an estimated one million people to the streets on June 9. However, so far it’s been relatively quiet, with only a few reports of some objects thrown onto railway tracks.