Pro-democracy demonstrators supporting the people of Hong Kong gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Protesters wore black in sympathy with the almost two million Hongkongers calling for their Chinese-appointed Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign over her push for a bill that would allow the city to send residents to mainland China to face trial. The protest movement, which began in June over the now-shelved extradition bill, has since expanded to include calls for greater democracy and government accountability. Last week, protesters shut down Hong Kong’s main airport terminal for two days.
Hong Kong had been a colony of the United Kingdom for 156 years until, in 1997, it was returned to Chinese sovereignty. At that time, there were assurances that Hong Kong would retain its capitalist economic system and certain legal protections for its citizens for at least 50 years.
Temperatures at the time of the rally hovered in the mid-90s. Many covered their faces to avoid possible retribution for themselves and their familes back in Hong Kong. At one point, rally-goers spontaneouly broke out into a chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the Broadway musical “Les Misérables.”
The Trump Administration has faced criticism for suggesting that the tensions between China and Hong Kong should be treated as an internal dispute. The D.C. rally was just one of hundreds of like protests taking place that day in major cities around the world.
View Jeff Malet’s photos from the rally at Lafayette Square by clicking on the photo icons below.