Men wear bras in Hong Kong to protest woman's 'breast assault' conviction
'Breasts are not weapons,' say protesters after woman is convicted of assaulting police officer with her chest
If the image of a 66-year-old man wearing lacy, hot pink lingerie over his clothes strikes you as absurd, the male protesters gathered in front of a downtown Hong Kong police station on Sunday achieved their goal.
Dozens of bra-wearing men joined approximately 200 other demonstrators in Wai Chan over the weekend to protest a court ruling that saw a 30-year-old woman jailed for "assaulting a police officer" with her breast.
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According to BBC News, activist Ng Lai-ying had accused a police inspector of touching her chest during a crowded demonstration against Chinese border traders in March — an incident thought to be caught on camera by local media outlets.
It wasn't the officer who was reprimanded, however. Ng was found guilty in court of deliberately pushing her breast against the policeman in order to accuse of him of assault, and to damage his reputation.
"You used your female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested you," said the magistrate presiding over the case, according to CNN. "This is a malicious act."
Ng was sentenced on Thursday to three months and 15 days in prison for what has been described as "breast assault" — a conviction that protesters and their supporters online have deemed ridiculous.
"It's ridiculous and alarming that the judge didn't just convict the protester of assaulting police with her breast, but that her seeking help was also considered part of the assault," said Ng Cheuk Ling of the Hong Kong Women's Coalition on Equal Opportunities to CNN during Sunday's "Breast Walk" protest.
"Should we silence ourselves in the face of sexual violence?" she asked. "If this sets a precedent, the police will not only abuse their power but also strip women of their rights to take part in protests."
Calling the ruling an "insult to all the women on this earth," pro-democracy legislator Leung Kwok-hung added, "I think if anyone on this earth treats the breasts of women as a weapon, it's totally outrageous."
Leung was one of the many men who expressed his concerns over the ruling at Sunday's event, where participants are reported to have chanted "breasts are not a weapon" before handing a petition over to police.
Photos of men who wore bras to the event have been circulated widely online in recent days, which is advantageous for the protesters who simply wanted to call attention to Ng's case.
"It's the first time to wear a bra in my entire life," said 66-year-old James Hon, a retired teacher, to AFP at the protest. "We have come to this rather odd method to tell the world how ridiculous it is."
Another male activist wearing a black bra stood before the crowd to share a message of solidarity.
"We better watch out," he said, "as one day police might accuse us of attacking with our penis or buttock."