185,000 Pinoys in Hong Kong warned about protests

Paterno Esmaquel II
185,000 Pinoys in Hong Kong warned about protests
No Filipino is injured in anti-government rallies in Hong Kong, the Philippines says, even as it advises its nationals to avoid protest venues there

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines warned its 185,000 nationals in Hong Kong on Monday, September 29, to avoid anti-government rallies that have turned chaotic as protestors reject a “fake democracy.”

In a media briefing, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine consulate general “issued an advisory calling on all Filipinos in Hong Kong, as well as visiting Filipino nationals, to avoid venues where these demonstrations are being held.”

Jose said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipino tourists should particularly avoid government offices in Tamar, Hong Kong.

“We are monitoring closely the situation in Hong Kong, basically to ensure the safety of our OFWs there,” he said.

No Filipino has been injured in the rallies, he added. Neither has any Filipino joined the anti-government protests.

Philippines urges peace

Sought for comment on the political situation in Hong Kong, Jose said the Philippines is not taking sides on the issue. In any case, he said, “We hope that both sides will express their views in a peaceful manner.” (LIVE BLOG: #OccupyCentral Hong Kong)

Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets Sunday, September 28, to pressure Beijing to grant the city full universal suffrage.

Police repeatedly fired tear gas in clashes with protestors.

It marked a dramatic escalation of protests in the city, which rarely sees such violence, after a tense week of largely contained student-led demonstrations exploded into mass angry street protests.

Protestors have defiantly stuck to their demands for full universal suffrage after Beijing last month said it would allow elections for the city’s next leader in 2017 but will vet the candidates – a decision branded as “fake democracy.”

On Monday, authorities in Hong Kong, China’s special administrative region, said they were withdrawing riot police from the streets of the protest-wracked city in a major concession to pro-democracy demonstrators. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.