Demonstrators gather in Edinburgh to support Hong Kong democracy movement

Dozens of people have gathered in Edinburgh's Old Town today to support Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrations.

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 2:30 pm

Around 50 protesters were outside the Capital's St Giles Cathedral chanting "Fight for freedom! Save Hong Kong" at around 12:15pm on Saturday.

Organisers, Stand With Hong Kong anticipated hundreds of people will join similar protests across the UK in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London this afternoon.

In an open letter to the 'people of the United Kingdom' ahead of today's rallies, Stand With Hong Kong said: "As a co-signatory of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, the UK has a unique legal right, as well as a historical and moral responsibility, to hold China to its promises and to uphold Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms as guaranteed in this international, legally binding treaty.

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They added: "We call on the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to make a clear statement that in its handling of events in Hong Kong, China has demonstrably contravened the provisions of the Sino-British Declaration and as such is in breach of international law.”

The UK demonstrations come as families in the Chinese territory marched on Saturday to oppose the government's handling of pro-democracy protests on the eve of keenly contested local elections.

Chinese riot police have reportedly fired more than 9,000 rounds of tear gas since protests began roiling in Hong Kong in June, often in crowded areas and also near schools.

With police now buying canisters from China, there are rising fears that the tear gas could release toxic chemicals including cancer-causing dioxin. A local journalist covering the protests reportedly said he had been diagnosed with a skin condition linked to exposure to toxins including dioxin.

The local government this week said there was no evidence of any health or environment risks and has refused to reveal the chemicals in the tear gas, citing operational concerns.