Workers, Doraemon come out in support of PolyU holdouts as uni officials search campus

Beloved manga character Doraemon conducts protesters singing anthems during a lunchtime demonstration at the IFC mall in Central on Nov. 26, 2019. Screengrab via Twitter/Galileo Cheng.
Beloved manga character Doraemon conducts protesters singing anthems during a lunchtime demonstration at the IFC mall in Central on Nov. 26, 2019. Screengrab via Twitter/Galileo Cheng.

Protesters reprised their now-regular “lunch with you” demonstrations today in solidarity with the city’s ongoing pro-democracy movement, specifically the protesters still trapped at Hong Kong PolyU, as university staff and volunteers did a top-to-bottom sweep of the campus in hopes of convincing holdouts to end their occupation.

For over a week now, protesters, many of them white-collar workers on their lunch break, have come out in force just after noon in Central to express their support for the city’s mostly young, black-clad pro-democracy demonstrators.

Today, they gathered at Central’s IFC mall chanting “five demands, not one less,” and singing protest anthems — this time with a helping hand (anthropomorphic paw?) from Doraemon, a robotic cat from the 22nd century with a crypto-technological bottomless pouch and an apparent penchant for amateur choral conducting.

(For those unfamiliar with his oeuvre, Doraemon first appeared in manga form in Japan in 1970, and has since gone on to become a beloved and internationally recognized animated character.)

Protesters similarly gathered in Kowloon Bay, according to RTHK, at times blocking roads and chanting “save the students, enter PolyU,” in reference to the ongoing police siege at the university, where dozens of protesters are believed to still remain despite dwindling supplies and deteriorating conditions.

After police warnings that they were participating in an illegal assembly, the protesters moved out of the road and later dispersed peacefully.

At the same time, staff from PolyU and other volunteers this afternoon conducted a thorough search of the campus in an effort to find any protesters still holed up there and persuade them to leave.

PolyU Vice President Alex Wai said that officials had received assurances from authorities that those leaving wouldn’t be immediately arrested, but would have their information taken down by police, RTHK reports.

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