Dueling Vancouver protests over Hong Kong for second straight day
For the second consecutive day, pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of Vancouver Sunday in solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong.
"I really feel that they are losing their freedom very, very quickly,” said supporter Peggy Wong.
And, for the second consecutive day, they were met by counter-protesters supportive of the Chinese government.
"I'm here to support everybody on both sides, from Hong Kong and from China,” said Victor Feng, as he stood with the pro-government group. “Hong Kong is part of China so everybody on the other side of the street, they are also part of China."
The two groups lined opposite sides of Granville Street outside the Chinese consulate, with those supportive of Beijing on the side of the consulate, and those supportive of Hong Kong's protesters on the other side of the roadway.
"Free China," chanted the pro-democracy group. "Free Hong Kong. One country, two systems."
Hundreds of people joined in the demonstrations on Sunday, slowing traffic on Granville Street near 16th Avenue, where the consulate is located.
For the past 10 weeks, people have flooded streets of Hong Kong as some residents accuse the Communist Party-ruled Chinese government of eroding the semi-autonomous region's democratic traditions and rights.
They also say police have been heavy-handed with protestors and worry China could send paramilitary forces over the border.
"I'm a strong man but when I see those images ... tears come out,” said Ken Tung, standing with the protest supporters on the west side of Granville Street. “I think it would happen to anyone."
At a nearby church, a pastor led a prayer vigil calling for a peaceful resolution.
"We are organizing this prayer meeting so that people will have time to reflect and to process their emotions, or spiritual trouble, that they're experiencing throughout this protest,” said Pastor Alan Yu.
Protests have been held not just in Hong Kong, but around the world, with demonstrations in several Canadian cities on Saturday.