On 21 July final 12 months Hong Kong police took 39 minutes to reach on the Yuen Lengthy metro station the place mobs of white-clad males attacked commuters and pro-democracy protesters, beating them with steel and picket rods. Not less than 45 folks have been injured, together with a pregnant girl.
The closest dispatch station was about one mile away.
The incident shocked town, marking a turning level within the protests with public anger towards the police reaching new heights. Virtually a 12 months later it stays a flashpoint for anger in the direction of the authorities.
The assault sparked a novel protest amongst Hong Kong’s jogging group, who’ve been utilizing health apps to log runs of precisely 39 minutes to point out how a lot additional they will journey than the cops responding to the tens of 1000’s of misery calls from Yuen Lengthy.
“We don’t even need 39 minutes to walk one mile,” mentioned Ah Po, administrator of a Fb group with over 1,500 members referred to as Operating for Freedom & Democracy which arranges and promotes a run held on the month-to-month anniversary of the incident.
“One mile is a piece of cake, nothing challenging. It’s easy for us to run for 39 minutes to prove how absurd and outrageous the Hong Kong police is.”
Po mentioned the group needed to inform Hongkongers that the police should be held accountable for his or her actions – and inactions.
However final week sweeping new nationwide safety legal guidelines have been imposed by Beijing. The broad and obscure definitions seem to have criminalised acts of protest as benign as holding a pro-independence flag, or including a post-it be aware to a Lennon Wall. What then for the runners?
“We probably can’t publicly advocate for the run anymore, but runners can still do it,” mentioned Po. “Running is not illegal. If today was the 21st, people would still do it. Be water.”
Dr Joanna Chan*, a 30-year-old orthopaedist and ultra-marathon runner, watched the Yuen Lengthy assault on stay streams in Switzerland. She mentioned she’s anxious concerning the pro-Beijing wing’s makes an attempt to whitewash the incident. “We can’t let the government alter history,” she mentioned.
“The authorities and Beijing’s supporters are resorting to disinformation to change the narrative, and it’s up to us to remind the outside world and future generations of what really happened.”
However she is anxious concerning the new legal guidelines.
“The good old days when everyone can express themselves freely have gone completely. Running is really the most benign activity to express our opinion. If one day Hong Kong police really arrest someone who runs with a “Stand with Hong Kong” tee, I feel I shall go away Hong Kong.”
The #runfor721 motion need the Yuen Lengthy assailants arrested and prosecuted, and for cops who could have turned a blind eye to be held accountable, mentioned Po.
“We need to remind people that justice has not yet been achieved,” mentioned Po. “Right now, no officers have been arrested or punished for their misconduct.”
The police power has denied accusations that they have been late arriving to Yuen Lengthy, saying they have been additionally responding to protesters on Hong Kong Island, and alleged that a few of the 24,000 misery calls obtained in a three-hour window have been a coordinated try to paralyse town’s emergency hotline service.
In Could a report by the police watchdog agreed that officers have been sluggish in responding on 21 July, however in any other case largely exonerated the power over a whole lot of accusations of misconduct and violence.
*Names have been modified