The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) wishes to bring clarification to our statement issued on 1st September that was titled “BERSIH 2.0 calls for release of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong”.
- In the earlier statement, we expressed our concern about the pre-rally arrests of 10 pro-democracy leaders, the widespread police violence and the deterioration of civic space in Hong Kong and called for the HK government to respond to the five demands of the protesters. We also called for the release of the 10 who were arrested.
- Bersih 2.0 is committed to non-violent peaceful protests as demonstrated by the public statements in the past regarding our own protests and the efforts we made to ensure that participants in our Bersih rallies are orderly and kept safe. As such we cannot condone any acts of violence by any party, be it the police or any segments of protesters in Hong Kong.
- We are extremely concerned that the violent acts of a minority but more radical group of protesters are delegitimizing the legitimate rights of the majority to hold peaceful protests in order to make known their discontent. Bersih 2.0 calls on all parties to cease violent actions and deescalate tension by coming together to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It would be tragic for Hong Kong, China and the rest of the world if this crisis ends up in a bloody crackdown ala Tiananmen. As such a political and sustainable solution must be found that addresses the economic marginalisation and political alienation experienced by ordinary citizens of Hong Kong that fuel this protest.
- As a movement that was, and is still involved in pushing for a more democratic space in Malaysia, we are in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong who desire to preserve their unique democratic space within the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China, with the late leader Deng Xiao Ping’s promise of ‘one country, two systems’. We are mindful that during the dark years of our struggle and when our leaders were harassed and arrested, many pro-democracy groups in the region issued statements in solidarity with us. We cannot remain silent now when citizens of other countries are similarly crying out for freedom and justice.
- As global politics gets more confrontational, we recognise the challenge to be congruent and consistent on comparable developments across different countries. Bersih 2.0 welcomes critiques on its attempt to do that and at the same time call for room and open mind for more deliberation and dialogue within democrats at home on thorny issues from Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Kashmir to West Papua.
Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0
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