Multiple NBA Arenas See Pro-Hong Kong Protests
The 76ers and Wells Fargo Center said in separate statements that a couple was "escorted out of the arena" during an exhibition game between the 76ers and Chinese club Guangzhou Loong-Lions on Tuesday, because they were "disruptive and others around them were complaining," according to Joseph Gambardello of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Sam Wachs and his wife "held up green fluorescent poster paper signs with 'Free Hong Kong' and 'Free HK' inscribed on them" at Tuesday's game. Security guards "took the signs away and then ejected the couple after he shouted 'Free Hong Kong' midway through the second quarter." Wachs said that he "had not planned the protest before the controversy erupted" over Rockets GM Daryl Morey's tweets over the weekend in support of the Hong Kong protesters. The Sixers said that security at Wells Fargo Center is the "responsibility of the arena's event staff and that Wachs and his wife were removed 'following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance.'" Wachs said that he and his wife were "silent until their signs were taken away but acknowledged standing on his chair to shout 'Free Hong Kong' and debating with fans of the Chinese team" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/10).
FAN MOVEMENT: In DC, Candace Buckner notes at least five "vocal demonstrations broke out before and during the first half" of the Wizards' game against the Lions last night. Before the game, a group of men wearing "Free Hong Kong" T-shirts "stood in the lower bowl of the arena as one held a sign reading 'Google Uyghurs,' referring to an ethnic minority in Asia." In the second half, several "shouts of 'Free Hong Kong!' echoed throughout" Capital One Arena. During the game, more protesters, "sometimes in groups of two, scattered in various sections around the arena, shouted in support of Hong Kong or other causes." A Wizards spokesperson said that "no protesters were asked to leave the arena" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/10). USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt notes outside of Capital One Arena before the game, "pro-Hong Kong supporters from the non-profit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation handed out 'Free Hong Kong' t-shirts, hoping fans would wear them inside the arena." There was a "sparse crowd at the game -- no more than a few thousand fans -- but some fans wore the t-shirts." One fan at the end of the Chinese national anthem "yelled 'Free Hong Kong' and then left the arena on his own." A few other fans also "had 'Free Hong Kong' signs," which were "removed by arena staffers because Capital One Arena has a policy that says signs, banners and posters 'may not be commercial or political in nature'" (USA TODAY, 10/10).