Protesters on both sides of Hong Kong debate square off in Vancouver
Angela Jung and Ben Miljure, CTV News Vancouver
Published Saturday, August 17, 2019 7:14PM PDT
Dueling demonstrations over democracy in Hong Kong have caught the attention of the world.
In Vancouver, supporters on both sides of the debate faced off on Broadway and Cambie Street Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds have turned up to show solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"I'm here today to show the protesters back in Hong Kong to ensure that their freedoms remain," said Matthew Ho.
The protesters met with counter-demonstrators who showed their support with how the Chinese government is handling the situation.
"A lot of people in Hong Kong have no idea what's going on and they start the riot for no reason," said Steven Li, a pro-China demonstrator.
Vancouver police officers were on hand to ensure the demonstration was peaceful.
There were also scheduled marches in other Canadian cities, including Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg.
The Canadian demonstrations come as protesters in Hong Kong prepare to gather Sunday for their biggest anti-government rally yet.
For the past 10 weeks, people have flooded streets in the semi-autonomous region as some residents accuse the Communist Party-ruled Chinese government of eroding Hong Kong's democratic rights.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement Saturday condemning violence in Hong Kong.
Freeland said fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly, must continue to be upheld.
“For the last two months, large numbers of citizens have been exercising their fundamental right of assembly. However, there has recently been a rising number of unacceptable violent incidents, with risks of further violence and instability,” read the statement.
“It is crucial that restraint be exercised, violence rejected and urgent steps taken to de-escalate the situation.”
On Wednesday, the federal government issued a travel advisory, warning Canadians to "exercise a high degree of caution" in Hong Kong due to the large-scale demonstrations.