Hong Kong, SAR Unions Call for General Strike

Workers and their unions from across Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, are part of the surging numbers of protestors who have shut down much of the city to peacefully demand a voice in their government.

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and other unions are calling for a general strike in support of students who launched protests earlier this month and who have not backed down even as police deployed tear gas over the weekend. Unions of school teachers and dock workers are striking and will be joined by other member unions.

The Hong Kong Bar Association yesterday in a statement condemned “the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the police against unarmed civilians.”

Saying “we cannot let the students fight the suppression alone,” the HKCTU called for workers to strike in support of four demands: the immediate release of all the arrested; an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly; replacement of the “fake universal suffrage” formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding; and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.

“We’ve never seen anything like this, never imagined it,” Kevin Chan, a 48-year-old factory manager told the New York Times. Chan joined many thousands of people gathered at night on the road near the government offices. “The government must awaken that this is the Hong Kong, SAR people,” he said, gesturing to the crowd, mostly people in their 20s. “These are not their enemies. These are the people.”

The protests have drawn worldwide support. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today urged the Hong Kong, SAR government to “abandon use of excessive force against peaceful students, workers and citizens.”

Further, Trumka said: “We call on the Chinese authorities to commence discussions with Hong Kong, SAR citizens on how to speedily implement the undoubted democratic right of Hong Kong, SAR people to freely nominate persons to be candidates in democratic elections—a basic right being denied.”

The IUF, the global food workers’ federation, is hosting an online action in support of Hong Kong, SAR protestors.

Protest backers in cities across Australia and in Paris and The Hague, Netherlands are set to rally today, along with a flash mob in Berlin. Tokyo, Boston, Seoul, South Korea, Taipei and others will host rallies and wear yellow on Wednesday, the beginning of China’s National Day holiday, according to the Facebook group, United for Democracy: Global Solidarity with Hong Kong.

The following sources offer live coverage of events in Hong Kong, SAR: