Expats rally in Hong Kong in solidarity for Turkish protests

Group rallies in Tsim Sha Tsui to urge freedom of speech and an end to crackdown in homeland

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 6:27am

As civil unrest continues to grip main cities in Turkey, members of Hong Kong's Turkish expatriate community gathered along the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront yesterday to show solidarity for their compatriots.

Plans to develop a park in Istanbul, including building a shopping mall, sparked violent clashes between anti-government demonstrators and police.

"That's where everything started but it is more than that now," said Elif Sorgun, 33, who helped organise yesterday's rally.

"We need freedom of speech. The government must stop the violence and police brutality."

About 50 demonstrators met near the clock tower, carrying the bright red Turkish flag and posters calling for an end to the crackdown on protesters in Turkey.

The group was also protesting against government policies, such as restrictions on sales of alcohol. "We shouldn't have a prime minister who says you can't drink alcohol or that if you have one drink, then you are an alcoholic," Sorgun said.

Born in Istanbul, Sorgun moved to Hong Kong to work as a fashion designer 41/2 years ago.

Like most of yesterday's protesters, she said she was not a very political person but recent events in her home country had prompted her to organise the peaceful demonstration.

"Most of the media in Turkey is under government control so there are only a few channels that are describing what is really happening," she said. "We want to say that even though we are far away, we want the government to listen to us."