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