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Drop the rioters tag, demand PolyU parents

2019-11-19 HKT 16:31
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  • Drop the rioters tag, demand PolyU parents
Parents of some students holed up at Polytechnic University have called on the government to stop labeling their children “rioters”, saying this is putting them off from voluntarily leaving the campus – which has been surrounded by police since Sunday.

The parents, who have been staging a sit-in demonstration near the university campus in Hung Hom, said it is not fair to classify everyone as rioters as many of them haven't been engaged in violent activities and are simply trapped in the university .

A conviction for rioting can land somebody in jail for up to 10 years.

A masked woman, who declined to be named, said her son is a peaceful protester who went to the university two days ago and hasn't been able to leave since.

Another mother, who concealed her face, said she is very worried as her son has refused to speak to her since their last conversation on Tuesday.

Reverend Pang, a pastor who is helping the group of parents, said many students distrust the police and are upset they have been declared to be guilty of rioting by the government even before being charged.

He urged the Carrie Lam administration to hold out an olive branch.

“Don’t condemn them as rioters. Just encourage them to come out peacefully, safely. That’s what all our parents are concerned about. They’re willing to die on campus but not (be) condemned, controlled or arrested by the police. They don’t trust the police and the government. That’s why I encourage the government and the police to regain our trust”, Pang said.

Other parents, meanwhile, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam – as a mother of two herself – should understand the young people's desperation and be more compassionate towards them.