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Barlow in solidarity with pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has tweeted her solidarity with Occupy Central and the students seeking democracy in Hong Kong.

Occupy HK Photo by @SCMP VideoMojo

Photo by @SCMP VideoMojo

On Thursday, about 2,000 university students held a protest outside the home of Hong Kong’s current chief executive. On Friday, more than 70 people were arrested for entering a government building in a restricted area adjacent to the central district. By midnight on Saturday an estimated 80,000 people were on the streets. While the police have used tear gas and force multiple times already, it is expected this will intensify in the coming hours to clear the streets for the start of the business day on Monday morning.

Even larger pro-democracy demonstrations are planned to start on October 1, which is also the day the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement will come into effect.

‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ – which refers to the Central business district of Hong Kong – and the student movement want the nomination process for the chief executive – the special administrative region’s top leader – opened to all candidates, not just those acceptable to the Chinese government. Hong Kong, a British colony beginning in 1842, has been under Chinese sovereignty since 1997. Under the terms of that transfer, the territory is to move to a system of universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive in 2017. Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have agreed to universal suffrage, but are intent on prohibiting the nomination of ‘unwelcome’ candidates (those unfriendly to Beijing).

Occupy Central appears a bit different in configuration from the broader Occupy movement in that beyond students it reportedly also includes Christian religious leaders and some bankers. While primarily a political – not economic – movement, it is notable that British financial institutions HSBC and Barclays oppose the movement. And HSBC and Standard Chartered have even pulled millions of dollars in advertising from a Hong Kong newspaper which has been critical of Beijing and extensively reported on Occupy Central.

A fuller Reuters news report on this weekend’s protests can be read here.

To follow Occupy Central on Twitter please click here or you can also search using the hashtag #OccupyCentral.