VANCOUVER: Thousands demonstrated across Canada in support of the Hong Kong democracy movement Saturday, facing off against vocal pro-Beijing rallies in cities across the country.
The gatherings come as the Asian financial hub holds protests for the 11th week running, with both pro-democracy and pro-Beijing demonstrations held in the city over the weekend.
Supporters of China and Hong Kong have increasingly held rallies in countries around the world.
Demonstrators from both camps squared off in front of a metro station in the western city of Vancouver, home to a large Chinese community, with the crowds separated by police.
Supporters from both camps also confronted each other in Canada’s largest city Toronto with the atmosphere tense, local media said.
“We have got the police permit to launch a peaceful march, however, before we could go out to start a march, we noticed that there’s a very well-orchestrated counter-rally here by the pro-China camp,” Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, told CBC News.
Police intervened to keep rival groups apart in the city of Calgary, in Alberta, CBC reported.
Ken Tang, a pro-Hong Kong protester, told the broadcaster that the pro-Beijing demonstrators “do not understand the concept of democracy, freedom and rights.” - AFP