An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. Though in these days, it seems like giving people a taste of their own medicine is the best way to go about it.
When a protest took place outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong on June 12, the target of the police wrath landed on journalists who were present there reporting the incident.
Amazing photos showing scale of protests in Hong Kong over new extradition law that it's feared will allow China to target political opponents. Organisers estimate more than one million attended, making this one of the largest protests in HK history. https://t.co/e82uSNNVSr pic.twitter.com/QwOjcrFIFo
— Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) June 9, 2019
This resulted in a cohort of journalists attending a press conference held by the Hong Kong police next day dressed in gas masks, helmets and reflective jackets, as reported by Shanghaiist.
Some #HongKong reporters, angry at police use of force, turned up to the #police commissioner’s press conference in hard hats and gas masks #protest #ExtradictionBill (photo credit EyePress Images) pic.twitter.com/tUcWKMPiht
— Nga Pham (@ngaphambbc) June 13, 2019
The attire ensemble was a clear sign of protest from The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) against the police department’s abuse of power towards the media community.
Top trolling from HK reporters: wearing helmets and gas masks to an indoor police press conference pic.twitter.com/ZbGPBFZnZM
— Jacky Wong (@jackycwong) June 13, 2019
#HongKong reporters are wearing their hi vis jackets in protest against @hkpoliceforce’s way of treating members of the press in #antiextraditionlaw #HongKongProtest. Police chief Stephen Lo will hold a press conference shortly pic.twitter.com/dndexfehw8
— Timmy Sung (@timmysung) June 13, 2019
They have acquired evidence of 17 instances where journalists were thrown tear gas and hit by the police during clashes and outbreaks.
In response, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo conveyed his heartfelt apology for the unjust treatment they have allegedly received.
Police commissioner Stephen Lo says so far 11 people were arrested in yesterday’s #AntiExtraditionBill #hkprotest for various crimes, including rioting, illegal assembly and attacking police officers pic.twitter.com/hSDhImeO0J
— Timmy Sung (@timmysung) June 13, 2019
He defended his response to the skirmish by pointing out the ‘low fatality’ rate of the weapons used. An estimated 150 rounds of tear gas were shot at the protesters along with rubber bullets and bean bags. Lo highlighted that the injured included 22 police officers under his jurisdiction.
The police commissioner was also thrown under the bus for trying to justify his officers arresting of the injured protesters at the hospital.
May I recap the best bit of #HongKong #police chief Stephen Lo’s presser: “I know arresting people in hospital may sound, err, err, err, err, err.
Errr….I cant find the right word….." #HongKongProtests #ExtraditionLaw pic.twitter.com/qFE2oQOYrr
— Damon Pang (@damon_pang) June 13, 2019
Pictures have been circulated on Twitter by netizens who clearly took the side of media rather than the police.
Bravo, and solidarity with my #HongKong reporter peers who turned up at a press conference with the police chief in gear for reporting on the frontlines of unrest to protest police violence and harassment of journalists #PressFreedom #extraditionbill pic.twitter.com/VYEKDnI2PV
— Yuen Chan (@xinwenxiaojie) June 13, 2019
The public applauded the reporters’ brave and creative way of questioning the wrong, even if it involves government officials.
But what about the protestors?
CBS News Asian correspondent, Ramy Inocencio thanked them in a Twitter post for making sure he is safe during his reporting duties—they handed him an umbrella and helmet for his own protection.
Hong Kong's youth protestors are kind. I post this clip to say thanks. @CBSrandy was rolling when the police fired tear gas at the group we were in. An umbrella and helmet were forced on me. I'll prob never know who they are but I'm so grateful for their care. #HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/NNAsFjpXOP
— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) June 13, 2019
They were also seen helping each other throughout the ordeal.
Earlier I said our team was tear gassed as we filmed next to a group of #HongKong protestors. Our awesome photog @CBSrandy grabbed this still from the vid. These super kind protestors helped douse my eyes. Watch @CBSEveningNews tonight to see how it happened. @CBSNews is here. pic.twitter.com/XwH4nt1XsG
— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) June 12, 2019
Hong Kong has been troubled by political unrest in recent years as fears that Beijing is trying to take control and limit the city’s freedom and culture.
The demonstrations were the latest expression of widespread public anger over the government’s controversial Beijing-backed plan to allow extraditions to China.
A record high of nearly 3000 legal professionals joined the silent protest in #HongKong to call for withdrawal of the #ExtraditionLaw. These are the legal elites whom the HK Govt accused of "not reading & understanding" the bill. (photo credit: @civicpartyhk) @HongKongPLG pic.twitter.com/oOXTxDZpyJ
— Phoebe Kong 江穎怡 (@phoebe_kongwy) June 6, 2019