Duelling demonstrations over Hong Kong's future held outside Canada Line station in Vancouver

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      Near the entrance to Broadway–City Hall Station was something that's never been seen before in Vancouver.

      Large numbers of demonstrators, each with radically different messages about Hong Kong, shouted at one another.

      They both gathered at the same Canada Line station to express their pro-democracy or pro-China views.

      On the eastern side were those supporting pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, who've been holding protests there for 11 straight weeks.

      These people want Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam to cancel an extradition bill rather than simply withdrawing it but leaving it on the legislature's order paper.

      Those who support Hong Kong protesters came out in large numbers to counter the pro-China activists.
      Charlie Smith

      On the western side of the station were pro-China demonstrators. Some carried the People's Republic of China flag, decrying the popular uprising in the former British colony.

      The two groups were separated by Vancouver police, ensuring that transit passengers could go in and out of the station unobstructed.

      The Straight observed no violence, though emotions were running high on both sides.

      Prior to the event, there were even threats issued against pro-democracy activists over the popular Chinese-language social-media site WeChat. 

      The crowds were so large that Vancouver police eventually shut down eastbound traffic along West Broadway east of Ash Street.

      There were similar duelling demonstrations at Toronto's Old City Hall between those supporting democracy in Hong Kong and those who were loyal to China.

      Meanwhile, media outlets in the People's Republic of China have been showing images of large gatherings of troops in Shenzhen, which is not far from Hong Kong.

      The video below is from Reuters and was uploaded onto YouTube by the Straits Times.

      Reuters

      Today, Canada and the European Union issued a joint statement on the situation in Hong Kong.

      “Canada and the European Union recall their close relations with Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and their strong stake in its continued stability and prosperity," it states. “For the last two months, large numbers of citizens have been exercising their fundamental right of assembly. However, there has recently been a rising number of unacceptable violent incidents, with risks of further violence and instability.

      “It is crucial that restraint be exercised, violence rejected and urgent steps taken to de-escalate the situation," Canada and the EU continued. “Engagement in a process of broad-based and inclusive dialogue, involving all key stakeholders, is essential. Fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly, and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, are enshrined in the Basic Law and in international agreements and must continue to be upheld.”

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