More than 1,000 march to protest Hong Kong’s rich-poor divide

Hong Kong – More than 1,000 people marched in Hong Kong Sunday to protest against the rich-poor gulf in the wealthy city and to demand more government help for the underprivileged.

Some protesters scuffled with police with police when they tried to break through a cordon at the city’s Central Government Offices and place a jasmine flower branch outside the building.

The gesture by members of the pro-democracy League of Social Democrats was intended to support the so-called ‘jasmine revolution’ in mainland China involving attempted demonstrations every Sunday.

Most demonstrators, however, turned out to protest against the recent government budget announced by Financial Secretary John Tsang which they said does too little to ease the rich-poor divide.

The march went ahead despite the announcement last week of a 6,000 Hong Kong dollar (770 US dollars) cash handout for every resident following fierce criticism of Tsang’s budget speech.

One of the march’s organizers, Andrew To, said the handout would not solve ‘deep-rooted social problems’ and argued a restructuring of the tax system was needed to redistribute wealth.

The Hong Kong protest came amid appeals by the Beijing government for social stability and criticisms from officials of attempts to stage demonstrations in major cities over the past three Sundays.

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