An altercation between pro-China and pro-Hong Kong supporters underneath Aberdeen Canada Line station on Tuesday was caught on video.
Late in the afternoon, a group of pro-Hong Kong supporters were placing sticky notes on a makeshift “Lennon Wall,” in solidarity with their compatriots in the troubled region of China.
However, not long after they had made the “wall,” a group of Mandarin-speaking people – apparently pro-China – are filmed tearing down the sticky notes and posters while engaged in a verbal conflict with the rival group.
A male voice can be heard yelling “I’ll hit you” in Cantonese towards a few people looking at the wall, to which they responded in Mandarin, “come here and hit me then.”
This is followed by the group of males ripping more sticky notes and posters off the wall.
A witness, who didn’t want to give their name for “safety reasons,” told the Richmond News that the Mandarin-speaking guys on the left side of the video “even threw a handful of coins while swearing at a lady protecting what was left of the sticky notes.”
“People were telling them leave their support notes alone and to write their own notes and posters in support of their own country – China – if they wanted to.”
Two men, who were seen ripping posters from the wall, were seen interviewed by a Richmond RCMP officer in uniform in a Twitter post, but no arrests were made.
"We are acutely aware of current world events, especially those that correspond to the (Oct. 1) date. We do extensive planning for such events and balance the needs of peaceful protest with public safety. We had officers stationed nearby and in plainclothes to monitor the situation," said Cpl. Dennis Hwang, Richmond Mounties spokesperson.
Cops intervening. Good.— Kevin Huang｜黃儀軒 (@yskevinhuang) October 2, 2019
Once more: As the situation was developing, many of us were getting live updates about how people did not feel safe at site or leaving.
(Thx to ??? for sharing pics and vids w/ me. Thx for attending, documenting, and trusting me to help spread the news.) pic.twitter.com/w1F7Thn6Lj
Students who were supporting the Hong Kong protests picked up the ripped notes and posters off the ground and cleaned up the wall before leaving, said the witness.
It’s understood that the altercation may have started because Oct. 1 celebrates Beijing’s 70th anniversary.
The original Lennon Wall was created in Prague, Czechoslovakia, following the assassination of John Lennon back in 1980. However, it soon turned into a site for people to express frustration with that country’s regime.
During the 2014 democracy protests in Hong Kong, a new Lennon Wall became one of the major features of the Umbrella Movement, which also advocates for democratic reform in Hong Kong.
Those protests have risen to the surface again in recent months in Hong Kong after its government considered forming an extradition treaty with China.