"Please, we urge you guys, help Hong Kong," was the message relayed to Edmonton at a protest on Sunday for democratic reform in Hong Kong.
The rally at the Alberta legislature was organized by Friend of Hong Kong Edmonton in support of those who have been protesting in the semiautonomous Chinese territory for more than three months.
"They are up against tear gas, rubber bullets, batons—anything, you name it," said organizer Benjamin Chen.
He encouraged Edmontonians to follow news coming out of Hong Kong.
The clashes have grown more violent as the weeks have gone on, and more than 1,300 people have been arrested since the protests began in early June, according to the Associated Press.
"They have the desire to obtain more freedom. I have no problem with that. Everybody's entitled to their freedom," said Edmonton counter protestor Tin Yip.
"But whenever they interfere with the citizens' freedom in Hong Kong—shutting down the airport, shutting down the subway—definitely this is not democracy."
He said western media has only offered one-sided coverage of the political unrest.
Chen said he didn't mind that there were counter protestors at the event, but that it represented the difference between Canada and China.
"It means Canada is free for everyone with different opinions to speak out. That's very important. If they were in China, if they want to say something, they rally like that?" Chen asked, motioning to the chanting crowd behind him.
"Government would probably not approve."