Occupy Central

‘Global Solidarity with Hong Kong’ rallies planned worldwide as Facebook turns yellow in support of protestors

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 September, 2014, 3:00am

Rallies in support of Hong Kong protesters who took to the street over the weekend to call for greater democracy have been held in multiple cities around the world, with more planned in the coming days.

Watch: Occupy Central leader: Movement "beyond imagination" and "touching"

Organisers of ‘Support Hong Kong from Canberra’, which took place around midday in the Australian capital, called on “all Hong Kong people in Canberra” to join, instructing participants to wear black clothes in solidarity with Occupy Central participants.

“Even if we can’t be at the scene of the protests, we are still determined to defend democracy!” The organisers of a rally in Adelaide on Monday said. “Even if we are in Australia, our heart is in Hong Kong! Our solidarity is with students in Hong Kong!”

Demonstrations were also held in Sydney and Perth. Australia has a sizeable Hong Kong migrant population, with more than 74,000 Australians born in Hong Kong according to the 2011 census, which does not include the children of immigrants from Hong Kong or those born in another country.

According to Facebook page United for Democracy: Global Solidarity with Hong Kong, multiple rallies are due to take place on October 1st – the Chinese National Day and what is believed to have been the intended date for Occupy Central before it was moved forward – in Toronto, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Seattle, and Dublin. Demonstrations are also planned later on Monday in Paris and Kuala Lumpur.

As well as protests, Hongkongers around the world have been organising petitions and writing open letters criticising police handling of the protests and calling on the international community to speak up for the demonstrators.

A petition on the White House’s official website has attracted more than 178,000 signatures, well over the 100,000 limit, meaning that the US government will have to issue a response. The petition calls on the US to “press the Chinese government to honour its promise of democratic elections to the Hong Kong citizenry.”

In an unrelated statement released on Monday morning, the US consulate in Hong Kong said Washington supports freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression in Hong Kong, but stressed its neutrality in local politics.

"We do not take sides in the discussion of Hong Kong’s political development," it said.

Meanwhile, on Facebook thousands of users have changed their profile pictures to a yellow ribbon to show their solidarity with protesters’ demands for genuine universal suffrage.

Others have adopted a yellow umbrella as the symbol of the movement, after protesters used umbrellas to fend off police pepper spray. Around 20,000 people have liked a Facebook page encouraging support for the Hong Kong “umbrella movement”. Other pages related to the protests have thousands of likes each.