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Hong Kong Protesters Show Support For Snowden

posted 22 Jun 2013, 01:40 by Mpelembe   [ updated 22 Jun 2013, 01:41 ]

About a dozen Hong Kong demonstrators call for the National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden not to be extradited.

HONG KONGCHINA (JUNE 13, 2013) (REUTERS) -  About a dozen Hong Kong protesters marched to the U.S. consulate general on Thursday (June 13) to demand protection for former CIA employee Edward Snowden.

One demonstrator raised a placard with a photo of Snowden and chanted "Snowden is our brother."

The National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who revealed the U.S. government's top-secret monitoring of phone and internet data had said he intended to stay in Hong Kong and fight any effort to bring him back to the United States to face charges.

Hong Kong has an extradition agreement with the United States that has been exercised on numerous occasions, but so far Snowden has not been publicly charged and the United States has not filed for his extradition.

Protesters urged U.S. President Barack Obama to refrain from extraditing Snowden.

"We come here and urge Mr. Obama, the U.S. president, to listen to the people of Hong Kong and voices of all over the world that they should not smear on Mr. Edward Snowden and should not ask the Hong Kong administration to have any kind of extradition to Mr. Snowden," said legislator and chairman of political party the League of Social Democrats, Leung Kwok-hung.

Leung, who often organized protests against human rights violations in mainland China also condemned the U.S..

"I can hardly imagine anything to do with the U.S. government exactly is full of hypocrisy. They ask the other part of the world to defend human rights, to protect the freedom of speech and the privacy of communication. And in the other hand, in the name of anti-terrorism, their act is unconstitutional, unlawful," Leung said.

Fresh revelations by Snowden have raised concerns that the NSA may have hacked into Hong Kong's key internet exchange, which handles nearly all the Chinese territory's domestic web traffic.

In an interview in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper published on Thursday (June 13), Snowden said the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009. Among those institutions hacked, he said, was the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which houses the Hong Kong Internet Exchange.

Protesters demanded an apology from the U.S. for invading their privacy.

"We are very shocked and very angry with their action. The infringement of our privacy. And we demand that firstly they should apologize to those who are targeted. And secondly they should stop the act immediately," said protester Dominic Chan, who belongs to the pro-Beijing political party the New Territories Association of Societies.

Snowden's allegations have until now largely focused on the extent to which the NSA was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens.

His most recent comments about China and Hong Kong - where he is believed to be in hiding - draw attention to NSA's role in conducting surveillance of foreign countries.

Snowden was quoted as saying he believed that the NSA had conducted more than 61,000 hacking operations globally.

A rally is planned in the former British colony on Saturday (June 15) to show support for Snowden. As of Thursday (June 13) afternoon, over 300 people said they would take part in the event, the rally's Facebook event page showed.