MANILA - Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong are staying away from areas where protests are being held to avoid getting caught up in the violence, the head of a Filipino advocacy group there said Monday.
Bayan Hong Kong and Macau chairman Emman Villanueva said police in the Chinese territory have stopped issuing permits for rallies and criminal gangs have been assaulting protesters.
Villanueva said that at the onset of the protests, members of their group joined the marches. But after violence escalated, they opted to stay out of the mass actions and are now even avoiding the areas where the protests are taking place.
"We decided to not participate anymore for safety and security reasons," Villanueva said in an interview with ANC' Market Edge.
However, he said many Filipinos are "in solidarity" with the protesters, who are demanding that the government categorically withdraw any extradition measure.
Villanueva meanwhile noted that this was the first time that officials from Beijing have called for a meeting with Hong Kong's administrators.
He said many of Hong Kong's residents, as well as the expatriates and migrant workers there, hope that a solution could be found to the political tension in the city.