MORE than 50 people gathered in Southampton to support Hong Kong’s fight for freedom. 

The rally against the Chinese government took place at the Bargate on Sunday, with supporters calling for the repeal of the national security law.

The bill, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism, and cooperation, was approved in June 2020.

It led to the arrest of many journalists and the closure of the pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily.Daily Echo:

Protesters of all ages chanted: "Hong Kong is not China" and "Fight for freedom and stand with Hong Kong," in a bid to express their solidarity. 

At the peaceful protest, supporters were reluctant to reveal their names as they feared repercussions from the Chinese government.

In the scorching heat, they wore face masks, sunglasses, and scarves to cover their identities. 

A couple who would like to be known as L and C left Hong Kong last September. Daily Echo: L and C at the protest todayL and C at the protest today

They arrived in the UK under a British National Overseas (BNO) visa that grants Hong Kongers the right to live, work, and study in the UK.

Before leaving his home, L used to work in IT. 

He said: "I left my 96-year-old mother back in Hong Kong. It was not an easy decision to make."

His wife added: "We left our jobs, family, friends, and our only home to come to the UK.

"After the government imposed the national security law, they took away our basic human rights.

"You can't say anything bad or oppose the Chinese government. If you do, you will be put in jail."Daily Echo: Protest at Bargate in SouthamptonProtest at Bargate in Southampton

The crowd also wanted to educate passers-by and raise awareness of the issue in Southampton.

Another protester said: "I want all the political prisoners in Hong Kong to be set free. And, I want freedom of speech and true democracy in Hong Kong.

"Please write to your MPs to support the people of Hong Kong in their fight for freedom of speech and democracy."

The protest started at 1pm and ended at 3pm. 

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