Today representatives of Education International and other trade unions staged a protest in front of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office in Brussels to stand against recent police brutality and human rights abuses perpetrated against the people of Hong Kong.
The violent response to the peaceful Hong Kong demonstrations continues to escalate, with over 1,117 people arrested since June on charges of rioting. The excessive use of force has led to many being injured, some scarred for life. Protesters remain undeterred. Today high school and university students boycotted the first day of school.
Co-leading the protest in Brussels, David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, said: “We’re here today because this violence cannot be allowed to continue. Citizens’ legitimate concerns and peaceful protests must never be met with police brutality and human rights abuses. We are adding our voices in support of our brave colleagues in education and trade unions, students and all the people taking to the streets to defend democracy in Hong Kong. We urge the Hong Kong administration to put an end to the completely unjustified repression and begin an honest dialogue with the citizens it is supposed to serve, a dialogue rooted in the values of dignity, human rights and democracy. This is the only way forward.”
The Education International General Secretary, together with union leaders from the International Trade Union Confederation, the European Trade Union Confederation and the International Federation of Journalists had a meeting with representatives of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels, sharing their concern over the escalating violence and repression. Hong Kong representatives were presented with an official letter co-signed by the four organisations and supporting the protestors’ five demands:
- Permanent withdrawal of the extradition bill;
- Release of the arrested protesters without charge;
- Retraction of the characterisation of the June 12 protests as “riots”;
- An independent inquiry to investigate police use of force;
- Introduction of political reform with universal suffrage.
In July, at the 8th Education International World Congress, representatives of 32 million educators from over 170 countries unanimously adopted a resolution reaffirming their “solidarity with the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union; with democracy defenders in Hong Kong and in support of the values of equality, dignity, democracy, justice and liberties”.
Education International will continue to support this cause in all international fora.