Security guards confiscated “Free Hong Kong” signs being held by three attendees of the Washington Wizards pre-season friendly against the Chinese Basketball Association’s Guangzhou Loong Lions on Wednesday, October 9.
Footage shared to Twitter shows a security guard removing a large Free Hong Kong sign being held by three men wearing pro-Hong Kong T-shirts.
The security guard can be heard saying the Capital One Arena respects their freedom of speech but cannot take a political stance.
The men then break out smaller sign in support of the Uyghurs ethnic group, before it is also confiscated .
Another attendee said said he was told to remove his sign supporting Hong Kong or leave, and he chose to leave.
A Wizards spokesman said in a statement: “The building security staff removed signs tonight in accordance with Capital One Arena’s long-standing signs, banners, posters and flag policy. No fans were asked to leave the game.”
According to reports, multiple groups of protesters supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong were present outside the arena before the game.
Days earlier, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests set off an international incident, with nearly all of the NBA’s Chinese sponsors opting to suspend business ties with the league. Credit: @JonSchweppe via Storyful