Blog - August 2019
Peaceful rally shows Hong Kong authorities ‘must begin dialogue with protesters’
Authorities in Hong Kong must engage in a dialogue with protesters to begin de-escalation of tensions, a Keele Psychology Professor has said.
The organisers of a pro-democracy protest held in Hong Kong on Sunday (18 August 2019) said that 1.7 million people turned out for the event, which passed off peacefully despite weeks of clashes between protesters and police.
The protests were originally started in response to a controversial extradition bill, which has now been halted, but now have a broader focus demanding democratic reform.
Professor Clifford Stott, a Professor of Social Psychology at Keele University, said that following Sunday’s peaceful demonstration, the authorities must now start a dialogue with the protesters to de-escalate the situation.
Professor Stott said: “Hong Kong provides a classic example of the importance of how protests are policed. What began as a demonstration over a single piece of legislation has escalated into a situation that has major implications for geo-political relations, should Chinese forces be deployed to support the Hong Kong police.
“Sunday’s rally was important because it was largely peaceful and represents an opportunity for the Hong Kong authorities to begin a dialogue with protesters.
“De-escalation through dialogue is now critically important and this will not be achieved unless the Hong Kong police do more to demonstrate their commitment to the facilitation of peaceful assembly and rights of expression among the Hong Kong population.”