Dozens of social workers staged a demonstration outside the Social and Welfare Department in Wan Chai on Friday, demanding more support and protection for colleagues attending anti-government protests.

The Anti-extradition Bill Social Welfare Alliance, which arranged the demonstration, said social workers are not actively taking part in any clashes with the police, and only go to protests to offer support to the young participants and to help people leave safely.

The alliance said despite the humanitarian role played by social workers, a dozen have been arrested in recent weeks on suspicion of taking part in illegal assemblies.

“We are extremely furious … we are here to do something to hopefully get the Social Welfare Department to clarify the role, the rules and regulations, to the police, so we can be safe at the [protest] sites to protect citizens,” said Tonica Wong, a member of the alliance.

Social workers have also complained in recent days that the police have prevented them from accompanying children arrested during protest clashes.