Ottawa urged to support Hong Kong protesters at Halifax demonstration

Pro-democracy protesters gathered in Halifax Saturday to call on the Canadian government to support people in Hong Kong who are entering their 11th week of a protest movement this weekend. 

Across from them were pro-government demonstrators calling for non-violence and increased Chinese rule over the semi-autonomous Special Administrative Region of China.

Organizer Joshua Wong said Hong Kongers are growing angry after facing oppression and police brutality while their government ignores their demands.

"I simply hope the Canadian government can raise a voice to defend the people of Hong Kong and the Canadians still living in Hong Kong," he said at the demonstration outside the Seaport Farmer's Market. 

Protesters in Hong Kong continued to press the government Saturday to formally withdraw a controversial extradition bill that could have seen criminal suspects sent to mainland China.

Among their other demands is an independent review of police use of force amid increasing violence. 

Wong said Hong Kongers in Canada would like to see Ottawa urge Hong Kong's government to meet those demands and condemn the persecution of dissidents in the territory.

"Our trust of the Chinese judicial system is fairly weak on how fair it can be," he said. 

"History will always be on our side in seeing what we're seeing on the media and seeing police brutality and seeing a lot of violence starting from police."

Jeorge Sadi/CBC

Pro-government demonstrator Ray Lei defended police and the Hong Kong government, saying some protesters have instigated violence. 

Lei said Hong Kongers should be subject to extradition to face trials on the mainland.

A pro-democracy rally is planned on Sunday in Hong Kong's Victoria Park.  

Members of China's paramilitary police were training across the border in Shenzhen this week, causing speculation they could be sent in to suppress protests.

Hong Kong police, however, have said they're capable of handling the protests.

Chinese state media said the paramilitary exercises were not directly related to the unrest in Hong Kong.

There were a few dozen protesters in Halifax counting both sides.