Pro-in­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers brawl in Hong Kong par­lia­ment Third con­sec­u­tive week of chaos in the leg­is­la­ture

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Two law­mak­ers who want Hong Kong to split from China wres­tled with se­cu­rity in par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, with one of them dragged from the cham­ber and se­cu­rity staff left in­jured, as fears grow Bei­jing will step in over the saga. Wide­spread con­cerns that China is tight­en­ing its grip on the semi-au­ton­o­mous city are fu­elling an in­de­pen­dence move­ment in Hong Kong.

In the third con­sec­u­tive week of chaos in the leg­is­la­ture, proin­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers Bag­gio Le­ung and Yau Wai-ching en­tered the cham­ber de­spite be­ing banned from do­ing so, pend­ing the re­sult of a ju­di­cial re­view into whether they can take up their seats. Yau ran up to a ta­ble at the front, set up her own mi­cro­phone and pro­ceeded to read out her oath of of­fice. She was then sur­rounded by fe­male mem­bers of se­cu­rity and car­ried from the cham­ber when she tried to re­sist.

After also try­ing to take his oath, Bag­gio was flanked by other pro-democ­racy law­mak­ers who pushed and shoved against at least five se­cu­rity of­fi­cers who sur­rounded them in a cor­don and tried to push them out. The meet­ing was ad­journed and moved to a smaller con­fer­ence room prompt­ing an­other clash when Yau, Bag­gio and a group of sup­port­ers tried to push their way in, shout­ing “One, two, three, go!” as they tried to barge through the doors.

Six se­cu­rity staff were in­jured, stretchered out into am­bu­lances and taken to hospi­tal. The po­lice were called in after the chaos. Bag­gio blamed the de­ci­sion to bar him and Yau from the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (Legco) as be­ing the cat­a­lyst for the clash. “The pres­i­dent and the sec­re­tariat (of the Legco) should take full re­spon­si­bil­ity” for what hap­pened, he told re­porters.

‘’Dic­ta­tor­ship in Hong Kong’

Yau and Bag­gio won seats in city­wide polls last month, in which a num­ber of new law­mak­ers ad­vo­cat­ing self-de­ter­mi­na­tion or in­de­pen­dence swept to vic­tory. But they are yet to be sworn in to the Legco-Hong Kong’s law­mak­ing body. Their oath-tak­ing was put on hold and they have been barred from meet­ings, pend­ing a ju­di­cial re­view into their first at­tempt at tak­ing the pledge three weeks ago.

At that cer­e­mony, they draped them­selves in “Hong Kong is not China” flags and al­tered the word­ing of their pledges, in­clud­ing deroga­tory terms and ex­ple­tives. The ju­di­cial re­view, brought by the city’s leader Le­ung Chun-ying and the jus­tice sec­re­tary, into whether they should be dis­qual­i­fied will take place at Hong Kong’s High Court Thurs­day. There are grow­ing con­cerns that Bei­jing might is­sue its own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the city’s con­sti­tu­tion-the Ba­sic Law-in a bid to bar the two law­mak­ers from the leg­is­la­ture.

City leader Le­ung said Tues­day he could not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that Bei­jing might step in. He also said that “other in­ci­dents” will be trig­gered in the com­ing days be­cause of Yau and Bag­gio’s be­hav­ior, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

Asked whether she was con­cerned about Bei­jing is­su­ing its own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Ba­sic Law, Yau said: “My con­cern is the de­struc­tion of ‘one coun­try two sys­tems’,” re­fer­ring to Hong Kong’s semi-au­ton­o­mous sta­tus. “It means the dic­ta­tor­ship of the CCP (Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party) gov­ern­ment will come to Hong Kong, which no Hong Kong peo­ple want to see.” Legco pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung con­demned Yau and Bag­gio Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. “These two law­mak­ers’ be­hav­ior ig­nored other peo­ple’s safety,” he told re­porters, urg­ing po­lice to take fol­low-up ac­tion. —AFP

HONG KONG: Newly elected law­maker Bag­gio Le­ung (C) is re­strained by se­cu­rity after at­tempt­ing to read out his Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil oath at Legco. —AFP

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