There was quite the crowd at Edinburgh Place this evening
A number of protest plushies were also present at this
I think it safe to say that everyone present also
do want a free Hong Kong
I went to my second protest event of 2020 this evening in Central. Like with the January 1st pro-democracy protest march, today's "Say No to White Terror" rally at Edinburgh Place -- which was organized by the Professional Teachers' Union -- attracted a sizeable crowd. Indeed, I'd go as far as to state that I've not seen the public square where the rally was held as full of people in months as it was tonight.
One reason why this was so may well be that many people whose New Year's Day march was cut short by the police decided to come out as a way to vent their frustrations over what happened two days ago. A second, more positive reason stems from the value and esteem which Hong Kongers generally attach to education and educators. A third, more specific reason is that people do very much care about the threat to the freedom of Hong Kong's educators that comes from the government after Education Secretary Kevin Yeung warned in an interview published in a Mainland Chinese publication that local school principals may be fired if they support teachers under investigation over protests.
Coming as it did from a government official who is not an education specialist (yet was given the Education portfolio) and whose children are enrolled in international schools, it struck many people as being a bit rich, to say the least. And suffice to say that it's prompted quite the reaction among the teachers, more than one group of educators of which came out and stated that the government needs to keep politics out of the equation when evaluating an educator's worth and refrain from instigating "white terror" against them.
After the teachers called for a rally to protest against the threatened actions, the Education Bureau counter-accused the rally organizers -- who, lest we forget, are professional educators -- of being the ones trying to incite 'white terror' in Hong Kong. From this evening's diverse and sizeable crowd (who clearly consisted of more than just teachers and principals) though, I think it's clear who has more of the public's support.
The diversity of the support that Hong Kong's teachers and principals have can also be discerned from those who took the stage to share their thoughts this evening: not just educators from Hong Kong (including the teacher who suffered an eye injury on June 12th) but also, via video, Taiwan and the head of Education International (a global federation of teachers' trade unions in 172 countries and territories around the world); as well as Hong Kong pro-democracy politicians like Claudia Mo and Fernando Cheung, and Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen.
One additional reason why this evening's protest was a well-attended affair may well be because the Professional Teachers' Union look to be a super organized lot. Among other things, this rally attendee really appreciated that the sound system for tonight's event was damn near perfect, there were three large screens placed around Edinburgh Place for pretty much everyone present to be able to get a good view of the people on the stage (including the sign language intepreters) and the event actually came to a close right on time, with the final speaker giving directions as to where people should most conveniently catch public transportation home!