As fans descend on the city tonight for the Raptors home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, a group of activists will be at the arena to give out thousands of pro-Hong Kong T-shirts.
“We would like to give away some ‘The North Stand With Hong Kong’ t-shirts to the Raptors fans to show the world that we share the same values and we stand with Hong Kong,” the group said on a GoFundMe page that’s raised over $34,000 to make them.
The group says it hopes to raise awareness of the ongoing protests that are currently happening in Hong Kong and to show support by having fans wear the shirts at the game.
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The t-shirt giveaway follows months of protests in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed residents to be extradited to mainland China for trials.
“People in Hong Kong have been in pro-democracy protests since June, and continue to face increasing police brutality,” the GoFundMe page reads.
“While you may hear news from Hong Kong more frequently, in the People’s Republic of China, all these [sic] news is censored, and all the people in mainland China were told: people in Hong Kong are demanding independence from China.”
— Hong Kong World City 🖐🏻😷☔️ (@HKWORLDCITY) October 14, 2019
The protests have also garnered attention from the NBA after Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted a “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” photo to support Hong Kong earlier this month.
As a result, the group says China is now trying to censor the entire NBA.
However, Morey later deleted the tweet after receiving backlash from Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta.
Listen….@dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization. @espn https://t.co/yNyQFtwTTi
— Tilman Fertitta (@TilmanJFertitta) October 5, 2019
While the shirts are branded, the merchandise did not directly come from the team, so it remains unclear how the group plans to distribute the shirts and where they’ll be located outside of the arena.
Daily Hive has reached out to MLSE for comment but had not heard back by time of publication.