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Hong Kong protesters to create human chain inspired by Baltic Way

The Baltic Way.
The Baltic Way. Source: Ülo Josing/ERR

Protesters in Hong Kong will form a human chain on Friday after being inspired by the story of the Baltic Way which saw two million people join hands in solidarity from Tallinn to Vilnius in 1989.

Dubbed the 'Hong Kong Way' protesters are aiming to gather thousands of people to form a 40-kilometer chain along Hong Kong's main train lines on Friday evening, the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way.

A statement from the organizers said their human chain will be different from the Baltic Way because they are not seeking their own independence. They added that technology has also made it much easier and quicker to plan.

A statement from the organizers said: "With inspired determination and a united voice, the people of Hong Kong will gather to connect across districts and form the Hong Kong Way this Friday. It will be a show of solidarity among people who are united against the extradition law and police violence, and a plea for international support." 

They also stressed that just like the Baltic Way, this should be a peaceful event: "We would like to stress that this event is intended to be peaceful and orderly. By adapting The Baltic Way into the context of Hong Kong, we wish to, in a lawful and peaceful manner, reunite Hong Kong people and make ourselves visible to the global community."

The protesters' aims are: "the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, amnesty for all arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into police brutality in recent protests, universal suffrage for the Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections, and the withdrawal of the "riot" description used by the city's police commissioner about the Jun.12 protests."  

 The Hong Kong Way will take place at 8 p.m. Hong Kong time.

The Baltic Way took place on Aug. 23 1989 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the Nazis and Soviets in 1939, which lead to the annexation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union later that year.

This is not the first time the Baltic Way has inspired peaceful protests, a notable occasion being in 2013 when Catalans formed a 400-kilometer human chain to demand Catalonian independence from Spain.

Hong Kong has been rocked by increasingly violent protests since June after Hong Kongers tried to repeal the anti-extradition bill which would see criminals potentially sent to mainland China. Critics say this could undermine Hong Kong's legal freedoms and might be used to intimidate or silence dissidents. But protests, which have been attended by millions of people, have now become about a wider range of issues including police violence and protecting the one country, two systems status the British agreed with China when they handed over Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997.   


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Editor: Helen Wright

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