Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong protesters hold #MeToo rally against alleged sexual assaults by police

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Several thousand people have protested in Hong Kong against allegations of sexual violence by police.

Thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong to demonstrate against alleged incidents of sexual assaults by police against female pro-democracy protesters.

The demonstration, which was billed by organisers as a #MeToo rally and follows claims by protesters last week they had been inappropriately treated by officers while in detention, turned the city’s Chater Garden into a sea of fluorescent purple.

Many attendees put purple filters over their phone flashlights in a sign of solidarity with those making allegations.

Protesters attend a '#MeToo' rally at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong.
Protesters attend a '#MeToo' rally at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong.
EPA

"There are times when the police, when they arrest protesters, will go and grab or touch certain body parts, perhaps as a form of intimidation - and when there are male arrestees, [police] will grab their below parts," demonstrator Emma Kwok said.

Event organisers are reported to have played audio clips with the testimonials of protesters who have alleged mistreatment.

"I have also been assaulted. I am myself also a survivor of sexual violence,” demonstrator Love Yip said.

“In Hong Kong, we always have this problem relating to sexual violence.”

“No matter what a person's way of thinking is, their gender, what shirt they wear, what they come out to say, their personality, whether you like them or not, you should not encroach on their body."

Protesters attend a '#MeToo' rally at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong.
Protesters attend a '#MeToo' rally at Chater Garden, in Hong Kong.
EPA

Police have denied the allegations.

"We have looked into the records and I must emphasise that such rumours are totally false. Also, we have not received any formal reports or complaints," police spokesperson Tse Chun-Chung said in a statement on Tuesday.

Hong Kong has seen large and occasionally violent street protests over the past few months, which started in opposition to proposed extradition legislation that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Hong Kong’s government has since suspended the bill, but demonstrators want it fully withdrawn. 

Demonstrator demands have since broadened to include calls for greater democratic reforms and for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign.

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