[4/6]Demands from Hong Kong People
3️⃣A total recall of 12th June riot claim
At a press conference after the clash between police officers and protesters on 12th June, the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Lo, described the event as a “riot”. This was echoed by the statement issued by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam that night, “[C]learly, this is no longer a peaceful assembly but a blatant, organized riot, and in no way an act of loving Hong Kong.” The word “riot” has become controversial, as the “rioters” were treated with excessive force by the Hong Kong Police; while there were evidences of well-mannered, cooperative and disciplined protesters shown towards the foreign journalists and ambulance technicians, et cetera.
In fact, the Public Order Ordinance defined that when a person takes part in an assembly which is unlawful by virtue of section 18(1) commits a breach of the peace, the assembly is a riot and the persons assembled are riotously assembled. The word “riot” seemingly suggested the protest on 12th June was illegal and unlawful, which has been denied.
Civil Human Rights Front, the official organiser of the 12th June protest, had acquired the Letter of No Objection from Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) beforehand, which indicated the HKPF’s acknowledgement of the protest.
In response to the controversy, Lo clarified on 17th June that the 12th June protest was not a riot, and the term “riot” was used only to describe behavior of particular individuals. The stance was also supported by Lam’s speech on the next day (18th June).
However, according to Public Order Ordinance, any person who takes part in a riot shall be guilty of the offense of rioting, and shall be liable to a sentence of up to 10 years in jail. Yet, there were only 5 protesters being arrested currently against rioting.
Similar to introducing the “suspension” of the bill ambiguously, the government has once again stirred up controversy through the potentially misleading choice of diction and called the protest a “riot”.
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