A Hong Kong protest in Melbourne’s CBD turned violent and was cut short after pro-Beijing “thugs” sought to silence event speakers and attendees. At 7 p.m. on Aug. 16, approximately 500 pro-Hong Kong supporters stood peacefully on the steps of Victoria’s State Library in a show of support for a “Stand with Hong Kong-Power to the People” rally organized by the Victoria Hong Kong Tertiary Student Association.
In addition to the five demands from Hong Kong protesters, the rally called for two additional demands. Firstly for the UK to declare a Chinese breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international treaty; and secondly for the U.S. Congress and the UK Parliament to legislate and impose Magnitsky-style sanctions upon the persons responsible for or complicit in the suppression of rights and freedom in Hong Kong.
Within minutes of starting the rally, pro-Beijing demonstrators gathered next to the group in approximately equal numbers, chanting slogans and playing music, with some demonstrators then resorting to scuffles and shoves in order to vent their frustrations on the protesters. Some members of the press were also attacked. Footage captured shows an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) cameraman attacked by a pro-Beijing demonstrator who sought to damage a camera—the demonstrator was then pulled back and restrained by bystanders.