Sunday’s protest, amid torrential rain, was organised by the Police Relatives Connection – a group seeking to mend ties between officers and the public in light of repeated clashes and violence in recent months.
At 3pm – just as a separate anti-government protest kicked off in Kwai Chung – the group marched from Central’s Edinburgh Square to the Chief Executive’s Office in Admiralty. They then proceed to the police headquarters in Wanchai.
They delivered letters to each office, setting out their own version of the extradition bill protesters’ “five demands”.
The group called for: Chief Executive Carrie Lam to respond to public demands; senior police commanders to plan operations in a way as to minimise clashes; the establishment of a platform for dialogue between police and the public; frontline officers to remain disciplined; and for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up.
Ms Li, an organiser, told reporters afterwards that 400 attended the event.
Speaking at the rally, one wife of an officer said that she knew the group of relatives would be disliked by both the police and the protesters, but they had to make a stand and try to mend relations.
“We can’t assume there is an ‘original sin’… the police cannot dehumanise protesters just because they are protesters, and the protesters cannot dehumanise police just because they are police,” she said.
“We have to admit, some of the police actions in recent times really raise suspicions of an abuse of power,” said another relative.
“I hope one day children can walk on the street again and say ‘hello, uncle officer’,” added one anonymous mother of an officer, who called for an independent commission. “Blue [pro-Beijing] and yellow [pro-democracy] can co-exist, but we have to draw the line between black and white.”
Chants by marchers included “return the police to the people” and “a political solution to a political problem”.
The extradition bill protests have seen increasingly violent clashes between protesters and the police. Police have been accused of acts such as mistreating and stripping detainees, using excessive force against protesters, and describing protesters as “cockroaches”.
But protesters have also thrown projectiles such as bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, and regularly call officers “dogs” or “triads”.
The Independent Police Complaints Council has promised to look into the clashes, but it does not have investigative powers such as the ability to summon witnesses.
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