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Gulf Times

Hong Kong medical workers join protests

Hundreds of Hong Kong medical workers and other anti-government protesters rallied in the Chinese-ruled city’s financial centre yesterday, angry at perceived police brutality during more than four months of sometimes violent unrest.
Pro-democracy activists have attacked police with petrol bombs and rocks and shone lasers in their eyes. One officer was slashed in the neck with a knife.
Police have responded with tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and occasional live rounds, wounding several protesters, many of whom received treatment from volunteer first aiders at the roadside.
A 26-year-old nurse, who gave his name only as Stephen, said police would often come into the hospital where he works on the Kowloon peninsula and stand outside the wards or search for protesters in the accident and emergency department.
“Sometimes they bring their guns and weapons. The patients may be scared. This is not good practice,” he said. “The protesters have injuries. This searching must be done after they are healed.”
He said he worked as a first aider at protest sites in his spare time.
“I didn’t tell any of my supervisors – only some colleagues with the same values,” he said. “…But when I see people injured, I have to provide first aid.”
Police deny accusations of brutality, saying they have shown utmost restraint in life-threatening situations and issue warnings to protesters with colour-coded signs before they respond with tear gas or baton charges.
Protesters are angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula intended to guarantee freedoms that are not 
enjoyed on the mainland.
China denies meddling. It has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of inciting the unrest.
The demonstrators gathered peacefully yesterday, occasionally chanting “Hong Kong 
people, resist”. 
A Hong Kong court has banned people from publishing a wide range of personal details about police officers and their families, including photos, in a bid to halt “doxxing” by 
pro-democracy protesters.
The temporary injunction, uploaded on government websites overnight, was criticised by some yesterday for its broad wording and for further shielding the identity of officers as they clash with protesters.
The police force says many of its officers have had personal details leaked online – known as “doxxing” – and family 
members harassed as a result.
Lawyers for the force went to Hong Kong’s High Court on Friday asking for an injunction forbidding people from publishing a slew of personal information including key details such as names, addresses, dates of birth and identity card numbers.
But they also sought a ban on publishing details about a police officer’s Facebook and Instagram IDs, their car number plates and any photograph of an officer or their family without consent.
The court granted the injunction for 14 days pending a longer legal hearing.
The injunction also bans “intimidating, molesting, harassing, threatening, pestering or interfering” with any police officer or family member.
Antony Dapiran, a lawyer who has written a book about the city’s protest movement, described the ban as a “very 
alarming development”.
“(It’s a) serious restriction on freedom of expression and effectively criminalises a whole range of perfectly lawful acts which will now be punishable as contempt of court,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sharron Fast, a media law expert at the University of Hong Kong, said the injunction banned activity “far beyond doxxing”.
“It would certainly capture the chants and name-calling that the police have long wanted to have legislative protection from,” she said. 
Earlier this month the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam used a colonial-era emergency law to ban protesters from 
wearing face masks. 
But the ordinance was widely flouted by protesters incensed that police are still allowed to cover their faces.
Police counter that they are facing unprecedented levels of public anger and abuse and need to protect their staff from 
retribution and harassment.

Last updated: October 27 2019 01:31 AM

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