“Repeal, repeal!” “Carrie Lam step down!” “Students are not rioters!” demonstrators shouted, some holding up enlarged photos of a bloodied protester from Wednesday’s protest. Participants laid white flowers on a memorial site of a protester who had died the day before. The 35-year-old man plummeted to his death in an apparent suicide after hanging anti-extradition banners from an Admiralty mall.
Hundreds remained around the Legislative Council complex after the peaceful march. Led by a Catholic organization, protesters sang “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” and held a brief prayer meeting calling for justice in Hong Kong. Nearby, demonstrators watched the screening of a short film depicting a Hong Kong butcher framed by Chinese officials for document forgery under the extradition law. In it, recorded interviews with lawyers explained the dangers Hong Kong would face if the extradition law were in place.
Christian groups have had a highly visible presence in the extradition bill protests, and “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” became the protest’s unofficial anthem. The simple one-line song has been heard nearly non-stop the past few days—at times sung by enormous crowds. It’s been written on cardboard signs, T-shirts, and umbrellas.
Rev. Chi Wai Wu, general secretary of Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement, said that a prayer meeting outside the government complex on the night of June 11 ended with the singing of the hymn. As he and other Christians spent the night and the next day on the streets with the protesters, they began to sing the song repeatedly in hopes to bring peace and hope to an increasingly tense situation.
Wu, 63, was on the frontlines on the afternoon of June 12 when police threw tear gas, shot rubber bullets, and fired pepper spray on protesters. Enveloped in a cloud of tear gas, he couldn’t see where he was going but rushed with crowds to get out of the area. In a press conference the next day with a group of more than 20 pastors, Wu recalled that even after pouring water on his eyes, he struggled to breathe, his throat was parched, and his body trembled.
The pastors condemned the police for using force and beating unarmed demonstrators. “I feel so sad,” Wu said at the press conference with tears in his eyes. “Will the younger generation want to be known as Hong Kong people? Will they love Hong Kong? We will lose the entire generation of young people.”
On Sunday afternoon during the massive protest, Christians gathered for a prayer meeting held at Chater Garden in Hong Kong’s Central District and read from Proverbs 21:1-3, “The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”