Police bike photo triggers fierce debate on internet
Ada Lee and Simpson Cheung
An increasingly fierce debate is raging online about a photograph of a police motorcycle festooned with July 1 march banners and handbills which has become a symbol of Sunday's protest.
Some say those who covered the police vehicle in leaflets are vandals - while others believe the image shows restraint by protesters, some of whom clashed with police as marchers made slow progress on the route from Victoria Park to the government headquarters in Admiralty.
Comments on the South China Morning Post Facebook page were mixed. 'It's absolutely disgraceful that a police vehicle got treated in such a manner,' wrote Terry Yau.
'I have to disagree,' said Bjorn Brown.
'I think this speaks to the civility of the protests and of those involved. This is the sort of thing that wouldn't even garner attention in the local media in many cities, where police vehicles are routinely torched during protests.'
His view was supported by pictures showing police cars set on fire during protests in Barcelona and Toronto, which were also circulated on the internet.
On popular forums HKGolden and Baby Kingdom, users debated how the police had behaved towards protesters. Some shared passages written by frontline police, who said protesters' actions were 'over the top'.
'[The protesters] said there were no freedoms in Hong Kong. We closed all three lanes [of the road] for you, and you said the police were slowing the march's progress?' one message said.
Another photo showing a protester blowing a whistle near a police officer's ear was also widely circulated.
A Junior Police Officers' Association spokesman said he hoped no one would provoke officers who were discharging their duties.