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US student rallies to support Hong Kong protesters

More than 37,000 people signed onto a Facebook page encouraging participants to wear yellow on Wednesday.

By: Associated Press | New York | Updated: October 2, 2014 9:44:38 am
Protesters hold up signs and umbrellas they gather outside of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (Source: AP) Protesters hold up signs and umbrellas they gather outside of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (Source: AP)

Students bearing umbrellas as a sign of solidarity gathered at rallies in several US cities on Wednesday to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Altogether, hundreds were expected at Umbrella Revolution rallies in 40 US cities, including New York, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago, organizers said.

In New York, students were to gather in Times Square on Wednesday evening, organizer Anna Cheung said. Earlier, students, many of them from Hong Kong, handed out more than 1,000 fliers and hundreds of yellow ribbons at the University of California, Berkeley. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, scores of people demonstrated with signs, bearing such messages as “you are not alone” and “united for democracy,” and umbrellas, which have become symbols of the civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong, where protesters have used umbrellas to deflect police pepper spray.

“We feel like many Americans don’t really know what’s happening in Hong Kong,” said June Lai, 20, a student organizer of the Berkeley demonstration. “They may know about protests and movement, but they don’t know about its origin.”

University of California at Berkeley students pass out yellow ribbons and educate others in support for the Umbrella Revolution, a group seeking democracy in Hong Kong (Source: AP) University of California at Berkeley students pass out yellow ribbons and educate others in support for the Umbrella Revolution, a group seeking democracy in Hong Kong (Source: AP)

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Hong Kong since last week. They’ve threatened to occupy key government buildings unless a top official resigns.

The protesters oppose Beijing’s decision last month that candidates in the territory’s inaugural 2017 elections must be approved by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing local elites. The protesters see China as reneging on a promise that the chief executive will be chosen through universal suffrage.

They are posing the stiffest challenge to Beijing’s authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997.

China’s communist government has condemned the student-led protests as illegal, though Beijing has left it up to local Hong Kong authorities to handle the demonstrations. Police fired tear gas and pepper spray over the weekend in an unsuccessful attempt to disperse the activists.

Alice Ching, who attended the demonstration in San Francisco, said the students are “very brave to come out and talk about the situation.”

Charles Cheung, left, leads protesters in a chant as they gather outside of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (Source: AP) Charles Cheung, left, leads protesters in a chant as they gather outside of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco (Source: AP)

”They have done something that many adults have not been able to do,” Ching said. “They have been doing it very peacefully, and the government has not responded in a very adult fashion when the students are acting like adults.”

More than 37,000 people signed onto a Facebook page encouraging participants to wear yellow on Wednesday in sympathy with Hong Kong protesters and listing dozens of universities where students would be participating, including Harvard, Yale, Brown and Michigan State.

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