Stop calling HK protesters troublemakers, says Bersih

Hong Kong police have laid siege to student protesters at Polytechnic University. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 says it is standing in solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong amid a tense stand-off between police and students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

The elections watch group also hit out at those who condemn the anti-Beijing protesters in Hong Kong as troublemakers.

“Bersih 2.0 calls on the HK authority and responsible media to stop labelling protesters as radicals, rioters and criminals but to acknowledge that they are citizens with legitimate discontents and young people who have a stake in the future of Hong Kong,” it said in a statement.

Earlier this month, former editor-in-chief of The Star Wong Chun Wai accused the Hong Kong protesters of being backed by foreign forces, calling them “rioters” who had “set fire to the streets”, attacked policemen and vandalised properties.

“Now, you tell me what’s rioting. Explain to me what is rioting. If it is not rioting, what is it?” Wong, who is currently The Star’s editorial adviser, told pro-Beijing media outlet China Daily in an interview.

Bersih said the protesters were exercising their rights as Hong Kong citizens to hold peaceful protests.

“As a movement that advocates democracy and freedom in Malaysia, we are in solidarity with all who aspire for freedom, justice and respect for the dignity of every human life, regardless of which nation they may reside in,” it said.