Hundreds of medical workers in Hong Kong and other anti-government protesters have rallied against perceived police brutality during more than four months of sometimes violent unrest.
Hong Kong’s medical professionals have treated hundreds of protesters, police and civilians who have been injured in clashes during the escalating protests.
On Saturday, medical professionals gave speeches to a peaceful crowd condemning the excessive force used by police while dispersing unlawful assemblies and making arrests.
One speaker voiced concerns about riot police entering hospitals, saying it deters injured protesters from seeking medical treatment sustained from tear gas and even knife wounds.
A 26-year-old nurse, who gave his name only as Stephen, said police would often come into the hospital where he works on the Kowloon Peninsula and stand outside the wards or search for protesters in the accident and emergency department.
“Sometimes, they bring their guns and weapons. The patients may be scared. This is not good practice,” he said. “The protesters have injuries. This searching must be done after they are healed.”
He said he worked as a first aider at protest sites in his spare time.
“I didn’t tell any of my supervisors – only some colleagues with the same values,” he said. “But when I see people injured, I have to provide first aid.”
Police have denied accusations of brutality, saying they have shown utmost restraint in life-threatening situations and issued warnings to protesters with colour-coded signs before they respond with tear gas or baton charges.
Ban on police information
Separately, a court in Hong Kong has banned people from disclosing personal information about police officers and their families, including names and photos.
Hong Kong’s High Court issued the injunction on Friday, after the police force sought its intervention to halt “doxxing” – the publication of private information online – by pro-democracy protesters.
The police and justice secretary also sought a ban on publishing details about a police officer’s Facebook and Instagram IDs, their car number plates and any photograph of an officer or their family without consent.
The court agreed to a temporary order, which will last for 14 days pending a longer legal hearing.
The current wording leaves no exceptions, including for media, making it unclear how it will be applied and whether it will restrict work by reporters.
In Hong Kong, protesters are angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula intended to guarantee freedoms that are not enjoyed on the mainland.
China denies meddling. It has accused foreign governments, including the United States and United Kingdom, of inciting the unrest.