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At Hong Kong Dolce And Gabbana, Protesters Demand Apology For Discrimination

Hong Kong Dolce And Gabbana

01/15/12 07:01 AM ET   AP

HONG KONG -- Occupy Dolce & Gabbana? A Hong Kong outlet of the Italian fashion label has been the target of repeated protests because residents claim the store's staff have discriminated against them.

News reports earlier this month said sales staff were preventing Hong Kong people – but not mainland Chinese or foreigners – from taking photos of the shop windows from the sidewalk.

A rally outside the store last week drew hundreds of protesters. Several dozen people protested Sunday, taping posters on the glass saying "Apologize or get out," and placing an oversized papier-mache camera in front of the door. The shop appeared to be closed.

"You're selling a brand that people respect and want to buy but they're not living up to that" standard, said Steven Chan, a 29-year-old engineer. "They definitely need to say sorry."

People also have posted angry comments on the company's website and Facebook page.

Dolce & Gabbana said in a statement last week that it "has not taken part in any action aiming at offending the Hong Kong public."

Local newspapers published photos of sales staff at the shop trying to stop photographers from taking shots. In one case, a staff member even threatened to smash a photographer's camera if he didn't stop, one news report alleged. But D&G denied that "controversial statements" by the Hong Kong press were made by shop staff.

The protest highlights simmering resentment among local residents over the growing influence that wealthy mainland Chinese have over the city, a former British colony that has been a semiautonomous Chinese territory since 1997.

Some Hong Kongers have complained that newly wealthy Chinese mainlanders have pushed up housing prices by buying up properties for speculation. They've grumbled about tens of thousands of mainland women coming across the border to give birth, depriving local women of hospital beds in maternity wards, and even for creating shortages of essentials like baby formula.

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Filed by Jillian Berman  |