Thousands of Hong Kong officials took to the streets on Friday evening (local time) to explain their support for the demonstrations of recent months and to encourage the government to meet the demonstrators.
It was the first time that civil servants joined a demonstration in Hong Kong. They gathered in the heart of the city's business district, along with other demonstrators. Many officials wore black masks to protect their identity.
"I think the government should comply with the demands, instead of pushing the police to the front line to serve as a shield," said one of the demonstrating officials.
In an open letter, a group of officials asked the leader of the city, Carrie Lam, to grant five public demands: the complete withdrawal of a controversial extradition law; an end to describing demonstrators as 'rioters'; exemption from prosecution for arrested demonstrators, an independent investigation into the violence during the demonstrations and further political reforms.
The police in the autonomous Chinese city announced that they had made eight arrests on Friday, seven of them during a raid in which weapons and possibly bomb material were found. A prominent independence activist was also arrested.
27Hong Kong demonstrators make tear gas harmless with pylon
Fear of losing independent status
The demonstrations in Hong Kong started as a protest against a law that would allow civilians to be extradited to China. As a territory with a special status within China, the city still has an independent legal system.
The protesters fear that the law is an impetus to curtail the freedoms that Hong Kong enjoys. Lam, in response, announced that the bill was "dead," but formally refused to withdraw it. The protesters demand that they still do that.
This weekend, new campaigns are being conducted against the bill and the Lam government. The driver calls the situation in the region the "biggest political crisis in decades".
See also: This is what we know about the unrest in Hong Kong
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