Police in Hong Kong denied permission for organizers, for the first time in 30 years, to hold the annual vigil, citing worries over the Covid-19 virus.
In a Tuesday tweet, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "Beijing's intent" was clearly "to deny Hong Kongers a voice and a choice.” The top US diplomat is set to meet with Tiananmen Square survivors at the Department of State on Tuesday afternoon, according to his public schedule.
Pompeo’s ironic commentary on human rights in Hong Kong came a day after US President Donald Trump threatened to totally “dominate” protest movements and riots sparked by the brutal police killing of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Recent days have seen police officers in the US plow vehicles into groups of peaceful protesters as violence rages across numerous cities. Officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday evening. Meanwhile, police in Virginia were filmed firing tear gas at kneeling protesters minutes before a city curfew went into effect on Monday.
Trump complained yesterday that states had not yet used enough violence to quell the civil unrest. In his speech on Monday, the US president threatened to unleash the US military on citizens.
Unsurprisingly, Pompeo's tweet about denial of rights in Hong Kong was met with instant cries of "hypocrisy" on social media.
“Maybe if the US gave protestors the right of free assembly we would have a better case to make with other countries,” one person wrote. “Irony is dead,”said another.
“Your boss gassed peaceful Americans exercising their 1st Amendment rights yesterday for a photo op. You're a disgrace,” conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin responded.
A Chinese Twitter account simply responded to Pompeo's tweet with a video of NYPD police cars ramming into a group of peaceful protesters.
Even journalists have been on the receiving end of police violence amid the ongoing protests, with the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) saying it was "horrified" by events and citing at least 125 violations of press freedom since May 29.
On Tuesday, an Australian news crew was allegedly attacked by police while covering protests outside the White House, prompting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call for an investigation. The network's news director described the US police behavior as “wanton thuggery.”
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