Young protesters lure the curious

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 January, 2010, 12:00am

'Are they Falun Gong members?' 'Is it a funeral procession?' 'Are they making a movie?'

Questions were asked as young activists paraded through the shoppers' precinct in Mong Kok last night, capping the third of their four-day city-wide march to voice their opposition to the HK$66.9 billion high-speed rail link project.

Wearing white and black shirts bearing slogans, the activists braved the drizzle and cool weather, kneeling down every 26 steps - a reference to the 26 kilometres of the rail line - as they proceeded.

Their parade drew the curious.

Housewife Lau Sim asked: 'Is it some sort of a festival or a funeral procession? The people look sad.'

Chen Pingshan, a tourist from Shanghai, who first thought the activists were Falun Gong followers, praised them after being told of their cause. 'It is natural people should say no to bad government policy.'

But sales assistant Sandy Lee, 19, was not so sympathetic. She said: 'It is more meaningful to demand a pay rise for all Hong Kong workers.'

The activists, calling themselves the Post 80s Anti-Express Rail Group, will end their trek today at the Legislative Council as legislators vote on funding for the project. They also plan to gather 10,000 people for a rally outside the Legco building today.

One of the activists, Wong Hin-yan, 27, a designer, said: 'It is certainly not an easy walk. But if the rail funding gets approved, life will be more difficult for Hong Kong people. It is just too costly and not worth it.'

He said the protesters would not use violence, but added that their voice would not be weak.

'We will fight until the very last minute. You never know. Last time, we won,' said Wong, referring to the forced deferment of the government funding application at a meeting last month, partly because of pan-democrats' delaying tactics.

Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan, who joined the rally last night in Mong Kok to show her support, said she was moved by the determination of the young people.