Multiple districts across Hong Kong saw their community message boards—so-called Lennon Walls—torn down on Saturday morning as government supporters took part in a “cleaning up campaign.”
Ahead of planned pro-democracy protests in the afternoon, the city’s rail operator MTR Corporation (MTRC) announced that Tuen Mun station would close at 1pm and Yuen Long station would close at 3pm.
CEO Jacob Kam said that the firm had “no choice” but to temporarily close the stations after a risk assessment and that the MTRC needed new measures to counter the escalating tactics which were “unprecedented in the company’s 40-year history.”
Groups of people—some of them masked—showed up on Saturday morning to take down notes posted on Lennon Walls in districts including Ho Man Tin, Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok and Wan Chai.
Many of the notes contained messages of support for Hong Kong’s protest movement, sparked by a soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill which would have enabled case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. The demonstrations have morphed into sometimes violent displays of unrest over Beijing’s encroachment and alleged police brutality, among other grievances.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho launched his “Clean Up HK” campaign earlier this week, asking supporters to take matters into their own hands and clear the streets and walls. He previously said the campaign would target Lennon Walls, but backtracked late on Friday night and told participants to avoid conflict.
Local media reported scuffles in Kowloon Bay and Tsuen Wan, where two women who were removing posters from the Lennon Wall clashed with reporters and onlookers.
Stand News reported that participants of the cleaning campaign in Yuen Long got into a heated argument with a man in black, which led to the police being called.
About a dozen riot police officers formed a cordon around the Lennon Wall while the government supporters continued to take down posters.
The group was later seen entering a police van, with an officer reportedly saying: “Just in case you are surrounded later and things happen.”
Ho made appearances in Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan, Sha Kei Wan and South Bay on Saturday and conducted Facebook live streams.
His detractors showed up in Shau Kei Wan and shouted “triad” at the lawmaker. He replied by calling them “cockroaches.” Ho’s accompanying supporters also chanted slogans calling on people to clean up Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy protesters started a march in Tuen Mun around 2pm to oppose “dai mas” or “singing aunties” in the local park. Organisers said they expected more than 10,000 to attend.
On July 7, over 10,000 marched in opposition to the “dai mas,” criticising the women—who are often middle-aged and mainland Chinese—for causing a nuisance to residents and park-goers. “Dai mas” have also been accused of dancing suggestively with their audience, which mainly consists of older men, and receiving money in return.
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