Hong Kong pro-democracy protests expected at Vancouver NBA pre-season game today
- The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation say a local group is planning to ‘protest against human rights abuses of the Chinese government’ at the game
- The Los Angeles Clippers will take on the Dallas Mavericks, tipping off at 10.30am Hong Kong time
A group of local Vancouverites are looking to test the National Basketball Association’s commitment to free speech on Friday morning (Hong Kong time) when the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Dallas Mavericks in a preseason game at Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver. The game will start at 10.30am Hong Kong time.
According to an article by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a publicly funded news network, a group of people who support democracy in Hong Kong will stage a protest during the game. CBC spoke to the protest organiser, Lee Haber, who said the group’s goal is clear.
“We want to test the NBA: Do you really stand for freedom of speech?” Haber told the CBC.
A press release obtained by the South China Morning Post states the group is calling the event “We Will Not Be Silenced” and that the demonstrations are to support the people of Hong Kong.
It also said the group intends the demonstration to be “a litmus test to see whether the NBA really value free speech of their players and fans over the profits from access to the market controlled by the Chinese Communist State”.
In his first interview since returning to the US, Silver clarified his position on the whole issue and also said the Chinese government tried to pressure him into firing Morey.
A media relations spokesperson for Canucks Sports and Entertainment, who will oversee the game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, said they were aware of the planned protests and were in talks with the NBA on the issue.
Fans have been seen getting escorted out of multiple NBA preseason games, including Philadelphia and Washington, DC, after holding up signs in support of Hong Kong protesters.