Australia

Sydney activists back Hong Kong protesters

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Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have gathered peacefully in Australia in support of protesters in Hong Kong.

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have gathered again in Australia in support of protesters in Hong Kong.

The fresh protests come after thousands of people took part in rallies across Australia on Friday and Saturday, including supporters of China, as demonstrations continue overseas.

Roughly 500 Sydney protesters on Sunday carried signs calling for democracy, freedom and an end to police brutality in Hong Kong.

"I hope to tell our friends and family, our brothers and sisters back in Hong Kong, that one day, we may not know when, one day we will have the same rights, the same freedoms that we enjoy here in Australia," one activist said.

"Australia - this piece of land that we are standing on - is an example of what Hong Kong could become."

Many of the protesters covered their faces.

The rally got off to a peaceful start after several scuffles broke out between pro-Hong Kong and pro-Beijing groups at previous demonstrations in Melbourne and Sydney. 

In Adelaide's Rundle Mall on Sunday, about 100 pro-democracy activists were met with a handful of vocal pro-China supporters.

One China supporter, who chose to remain anonymous, said the pro-democracy group had the wrong idea of freedom.

"They act like terrorists," he said on Sunday afternoon.

"It's not about freedom, it's about 'China is China'. China is one nation, that's it."

On the other side, 19-year-old student Kelvin Chan was handing out surgical masks as a symbol of "white terror" - the suppression of political ideas.

He said despite being in Australia, protesters can still help their "brothers and sisters" in Hong Kong.

"It's a wake-up call to all around the world."

"The brutality of police cannot be tolerated by civilised countries ... you can't shoot tear gas indoors and rubber bullets," Mr Chan said. 

In Melbourne, demonstrators in small numbers gathered, continuing to show solidarity with Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement for a third day.

Around 50 protesters gathered at Melbourne's Federation Square, holding signs and chanting for freedom for Hong Kong on Sunday.

The peaceful demonstration comes after a pro-Hong Kong rally in the city's CBD turned violent on Friday, with protesters clashing with pro-China demonstrators.

Hong Kong has been plunged into its biggest political crisis since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997, with a wave of protests against a now-suspended extradition bill which would see people sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

The protests, which started in April, have now transformed into broader demands including the resignation of Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam and calls for a "free Hong Kong".

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