Over 10,000 activists to head to HK for WTO protests

HONG KONG (Reuters) – More than 10,000 overseas activists will head to Hong Kong in December to protest at a meeting of the World Trade Organisation, organisers said on Monday.
A rights group in Hong Kong that is coordinating the rallies and protests by more than 130 overseas groups also called for frank and open discussion with police in the city to avoid misunderstanding.
“We don’t know about what the police are planning, all we hear are media comments about some terrifying measures (they will use to curb protesters),” Elizabeth Tang of the Hong Kong People’s Alliance on WTO told Reuters.
“We are worried they will over-react, especially if they have such a negative picture of us.”
Tang said the 130 overseas groups which have contacted her organisation abided by the principle of non-violence, but she could not give the same assurance for other overseas protest groups which could turn up.
In February, Tang estimated that thousands of protesters would join rallies during the December 13-18 ministerial meeting but she said the figure has now been revised.
“There would be over 10,000, and about 1,500 will be from South Korea,” she said.
About 1,000 South Korean farmers who are incensed with how cheaper imports have ruined or are threatening their livelihoods are expected to take part in the Hong Kong protests, an official with the Korean Peasants’ League said on Sunday.
One South Korean farmer made headlines around the world in 2003 when he stuck a knife in his heart to protest against agriculture talks in Mexico.
Three rallies have been planned, for December 11, 13 and 18.
But Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is eager to make the high-profile event a success and trouble-free.