Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Marching to be Heard

Gathering in Victoria Park before the start of the march
July 1 is Hong Kong SAR Day, and usually the public holiday is reserved for sleeping in, shopping and eating out. But hundreds of thousands of people chose not to pamper themselves but instead turned out to march for several hours, from small children to the elderly.

Conservative estimates put the numbers at 510,000 and the Hong Kong Police dare to say there were only 92,000. So how do they explain why there were people still setting off at Victoria Park at 7pm when the march started at 3pm?

This sign perfectly encapsulates what we want to say
Before the march I ran 5K on the treadmill which took me 36 minutes, but over seven hours to walk almost the same distance. That demonstrates how many people want to show their displeasure at the Hong Kong government and Beijing, but also how the police tried to frustrate us along the way.

My friends and I (including YTSL) had planned to meet at 3pm at Tin Hau, but when I arrived at Tin Hau station, the escalators were not working and we had to walk up the stairs and then I realized why -- there were still tons of people not exiting the station fast enough.

When we finally got together we walked towards Victoria Park but were diverted to the lawn area where we waited and waited... and waited. We even waited in the pouring rain (and got soaked).

It's evening and we're only at Hysan Place
Then there was some movement around 5pm, inching towards the pitch and then for some reason moving towards Tin Hau instead of Causeway Bay. At one point we saw a helicopter flying by to check us out so we all waved and shouted. We hope they got a good shot of us. One or two may have given it the finger...

We finally got to get out of the park and move at a decent pace, but it was stop and start and people kept shouting "open the road!" and then the crowd would move but then it would stop again...

It was nightfall by the time we reached Sogo -- only steps away from Victoria Park -- and we wondered how long it would take us to get to Central. But there were political parties who set up shop along the way, chanting slogans like "Leung Chun-ying step down!" or "We want to choose our leaders" to buoy people's spirits.

We spied actor and director Derek Tsang Kwok-cheung, son of entertainer Eric Tsang Chi-wai in front of us, and gay artists Denise Ho and Anthony Wong lent their support as well.

Abandoned buses and cars on the opposite side of the road
The convenient stores along the way did really good business, particularly the 7-11s where people stocked up on water and snacks. One friend pointed out there were no porta potties along the route and I said that there were none, but then there was no need either because we were sweating so much.

By the time we arrived near Admiralty, there was an Occupy Central stand with the founders there including Benny Tai Yiu-ting waving to the crowds and accepting donations. Everyone waved to them and shouted. It was a huge boost for the group, that up until several weeks ago looked sketchy. It was Beijing's white paper that really boost the group's support, as demonstrated by the turnout for the referendum.

Cardinal Zen getting lots of attention
Soon afterwards we finally reached our destination -- Central! Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun was there collecting donations and posing for photographs with fans. He has advocated for civil disobedience and encouraged people to vote on the referendum. He is one cool dude.

When we arrived at 10pm -- seven hours after we started -- there were tons of people milling around Central. Along Chater Road people sat rapt listening to Scholarism leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung who told the crowd that they had to stand up for the next generation and the generation after that. The audience cheered and clapped.

The Scholarism group was about to go to the Chief Executive's Office in Tamar and stay there the night, but I'd had enough for the day and managed to catch the express bus home!

What a day. My feet are tired, but spirits are high. How can the Hong Kong government and Central government ignore so many people out in the streets. The ball is now in their court to see how they respond.
The crowd "occupies Central"

They had better be careful -- we have no qualms marching in big numbers again if need be.

5 comments:

  1. What a day indeed -- and what a turnout! No way it's only 92,000. Hong Kong police and government, you can't deceive the people!

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    Replies
    1. HI YTSL -- last month the police said 99,500 people took part in the June 4 candlelight vigil so how can Tuesday's march be only 92,000?!

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  2. the polices always undercount by the factor of 5-10...Beijing isn't going to do anything about your displeasure...NE New Terriorities are going to be a no-visa zone (because rumored CY Leung would have to resign if funding to develop that area isn't approved.)

    However, push for independence with sufficient numbers (2 million+, majority willing to sacrifiace their lives) might get Beijing's attention...

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    Replies
    1. nulle -- do we need to sacrifice lives for this?

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    2. personally, yes if you want your freedom or else become second class citizens, or worse similar to those who are in Tibet or Xinjiang.

      Now the NE New Terriorities is becoming a visa-free zone for mainlanders, effectively eliminating HK-China border, and **EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATE ONLY SOURCE OF VEGETABLES PRODUCED IN HK** Enjoy your PRC Chinese vegetables with all the heavy metals in PRC Chinese rivers.

      How much more abuse can you take from the mainlander/CCP? Singapore just won the race betweent them and HK.

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