Residents clash in Richmond over Hong Kong protests
Saturday's gatherings were the second this week to see tensions rise in Metro Vancouver
For the second time this week there was tension and confrontation in Richmond over pro-democracy protests for Hong Kong.
Around 200 demonstrators gathered at the Aberdeen SkyTrain Station in Richmond Saturday to put up messages of support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.
A couple hundred protestors at Aberdeen station in Richmond. They’re putting up a new Lennon wall with messages calling to free Hong Kong. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hongkong?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#hongkong</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/china?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#china</a> <a href="https://t.co/VKVHEqdIsV">pic.twitter.com/VKVHEqdIsV</a>—@mickicowan
The gesture was in response to a similar event earlier in the week when a smaller group of people put up posters and hundreds of Chinese and English messages on a concrete wall, saying things like "Hong Kong is not China" and "Freedom for Hong Kong."
According to footage posted to social media, pro-China supporters arrived later and tore down the entire display.
Pro-democracy demonstrators in Richmond on Saturday said they have a right to post messages of support without harassment.
"This is Canada... they don't have the right to silence us," said Destiny, 15. " And neither should Hong Kong be silenced."
CBC News is not publishing Destiny's last name in order to protect her family still living in Hong Kong. She says her grandfather has already been hit with tear gas at protests there.
"When I saw the video of him getting tear-gassed in Hong Kong, I felt heartbroken," she said. "I don't want this to happen to any of my family or my friends. I want to protect Hong Kong."
Masked protesters were on the streets in Hong Kong this weekend despite a ban on masks at rallies. Police fired tear gas and a teen was wounded by gunfire as four months of anti-government demonstrations continue.
Demonstrators in Richmond on Saturday wore masks in solidarity with people in Hong Kong.
"They cannot wear masks anymore, and it will give the government a lot of power to arrest any people wearing masks and it will stop a lot of people from protesting," said Mabel Tung who helped organize the rally with the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement.
Demonstrators in Richmond were confronted by others speaking in support of the Chinese government and against Hong Kong independence, but the wall of messages stayed upright this time.
There have been other confrontations in Metro Vancouver, with the latest at a high school in Burnaby.
Richmond RCMP said there were plenty of officers at Saturday's demonstration to ensure safety.
"Tempers do get a little bit heated," said Cpl. Dennis Hwang.
With files from Micki Cowan