In the midst of rain showers, supporters of Edward Snowden marched in the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday chanting “Free Snowden” and “Arrest Obama.”
About 200 hundred protestors convened outside of the U.S. consulate-blowing whistles and declaring they are whistle-blowers.
“By standing up for Snowden, I also want to send a message that we need that kind of citizen in Hong Kong,” activist Chikwan Ho told ABC News. “Somebody who is watching our government to see if they are abusing power to control our lives.”
Protestors held signs with a huge eye pictured and statements that read “I am watching you” and “say no to privacy and liberties violators.”
Some had signs of President Obama that read “Big brother is watching you” and “protect free speech-protect Snowden.”
A little girl held a cut out picture of Snowden to her face as a photographer took her picture.
The protest drew many college students.
“What he’s doing is basically sacrificing his freedom to challenge such a powerful country,” said Eason Chung, the student union president at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who took part in the protest. “He is telling the world your privacy and human rights are being invaded by the U.S.”
It was anticipated that masses of protestors would show up for the march outside the U.S. consulate but the crowd was much smaller.
Supporters of Snowden have gradually increased since the release of classified documents exposing the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, Prism. The program has the ability to gather vast amounts of information via phones and the internet. While the initial release heard more complaints and disgust from American citizens the sentiment has spread abroad with many questioning NSA’s snooping abilities.
According to Snowden, he escaped to China because of their independence to western influence and commitment to free speech. He also revealed to them that NSA has been hacking into their commuters since 2009, targeting students and public officials.
It has been reported the very qualities that drew Snowden to Hong Kong, may be in jeopardy because of Beijing’s influence. Supporters of Snowden are worried that Beijing may turn him over to U.S. authorities.
“We must not let anybody intervene, be it from Beijing or be it from Washington, because we have the rule of law,” Albert Ho, a legislator from Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, said to the protesting crowd. “Mr. Snowden should be given the right under our law to stay in Hong Kong.”
While Edward Snowden is enjoying his “hero” status, it is questionable whether his premeditated plan to expose NSA is really in the interest of protecting the constitutional rights of this country or any other country.
China’s government has been silent. The government controlled media suggested that the Chinese government should demand explanations from the U.S. regarding the allegations and information that Snowden exposed.
The U.S. government is now investigating Snowden’s relationship with China. Snowden has definitely made an impact on the people in Hong Kong as they marched in the rain today requesting his freedom and President Obama’s arrest.
Is Snowden really looking to protect the rights of people or destroy communications between the Obama administration and the Chinese government?
By: Veverly Edwards