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A Hong Kong Police Officer Kneeled On A 16-Year-Old Girl Protestor’s Neck. It’s All Too Familiar And Worrying

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“I can’t breathe,” – George Floyd’s words as a police offer kneeled on his neck became the battle cry for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They were a glaring reminder of the racism and misuse of power that has become shockingly common with police forces across the United States. George Floyd’s tragic death was not an isolated incident, it was one of several others. While it is incredible to see the movement gaining traction and becoming an issue of global concern, protestors in another part of the world have been ignored for far too long. People in Hong Kong have been coming out onto the streets to protest against the extradition law and to demand full democracy since June of 2019 and have been subjected to increasing violence from the police.

Recently, news has surfaced of a police officer kneeling on a female school student’s neck. The incident took place on June 12th in Causeway Bay. The Hong Kong police have claimed that the neck restraint in question was well within protocol. They have also reported that the police used “minimum force” while making an arrest.

The South China Morning Post has released footage showing the girl being pushed to the ground by two police officers. One officer had his knee pressed against her neck, and the other had his knee on her waist while they arrested her. As we already know, this is an extremely brutal way to pin an individual down, especially a school girl.

“When they pushed me down, the first feeling was I couldn’t breathe, (it was) very painful,” she told the local media. The sixteen-year-old student is a member of the Hong Kong Secondary Students’ Action Platform, which is backed by the pro-democracy group Demisisto. She was later asked by the police if she needed treatment and was sent to the hospital.

Instances like these are more common than we think, and they are chilling examples of the power police officers are authorised to exercise on protestors, or in George Floyd’s case, individuals who have been arrested. While we talk about police brutality in the USA, let’s not forget about the incidents closer to home. Protestors in Hong Kong have been out on the streets for a year now.

But more than anything else, when entire movements have been triggered because of a gesture, to repeat and nonchalantly so, seems a little worrying.

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