January 22 marks the 28th day of the last lunar month. Citizens gathered outside Lai Chi Kok Detention Centre to root for detained protesters. And let the world know that the fighting of Hong Kong people will not stop.
Over 8000 attended the event which started at 20:00. Lawmakers Claudia Mo and Tanya Chan, Convener of Civil Human Rights Front Jimmy Sham were also present.
Different volunteers and social workers came up to the stage to read letters sent by the detained protestors as well as their partners or family members. Words of encouragement and support were exchanged from both sides of the fence.
A speaker showed a picture drawn by a detainee, with the flag written “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times” and the caption “I am not alone.”
“Many District Councilors have been visiting our comrades inside,” Convener of Civil Human Rights Front Jimmy Sham told the crowds. He said today is the birthday of one of the detained protestors called “postman”. The participants chanted “Happy Birthday” into the Reception Center.
Jimmy Sham reminded the people of the now-imprisoned activist Edward Leung, who coined the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times,” and played a clip in which he sang “Eighteen”, a song by the iconic Hongkongese band Beyond.
Participants turned on the torches in their phones and sang along. They chanted after singing the song: “Peaceful and valiant protestors are one, ups and downs we bear together” and “Support Our Comrades Forever”.
“Eighteen” portrayed an aged idealist reminiscent of his past which he dared to challenge social dogmas and injustices.
Pro-democracy Legislative Councilor Fernando Cheung called on participants to write letters to detained protestors, whose information can be found on Facebook. Civilians on the scene responded positively: “We will support you!”
A volunteer read a letter written by a detained protestor to their family.
“In the routined days, I read tons of Christmas cards you have sent me, down to every word. Living here is not really bad, but my mental health is deteriorating,” said the detainee. He hoped supporters of the pro-democracy movement would not be divided and could one day meet without wearing any mask.
“You are not alone,” he said at the end.
Activist and ex-lawmaker, “long hair,” Leung Kwok-hung said that he couldn’t visit those arrested because he is no longer a legislator.
He shared his own experience in the prison which he said was similar to any political prisoner – the prison may hold his body but could never capture his mind.
He raised two important things to bring hope to the arrested comrades which were to raise a fund of HK$ 300 million; and secondly, to get prepared for a general strike.
Lawmaker Shiu Ka-Chun passed messages for the comrades in prison: 1. Tell his girlfriend that he misses her. 2. To say thank you to everyone. 3. Tell those who can’t wait for his release to move on with their lives.
Shiu then thanked supporters for attending the gathering and announced the launch of “Be my penpal” movement. He also reported that around 8,000 supporters attending, 2,000 more than the last gathering.
Jimmy Sham announced the end of the gathering and reminded attendees to have a safe ride home. He also announced that the Silver-hair group will organize another gathering on Friday (January 24).
Stand with Hong Kong!