Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Protesting the Mess at Legco


Crowds starting to gather at Tamar with police watching across the street
There were more antics at the Legislative Council again today which prompted an ad hoc protest march this evening.

It was a protest against Legco President Andrew Leung for not allowing localist lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching to be sworn in, for caving into his pro-establishment colleagues' demands and defer swearing them in until after the judicial review (which is tomorrow), and for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for not only personally applying for the judicial review, but also appealing to Beijing to give its interpretation of the Basic Law regarding the pair taking their oaths the first time.

Previously missing bookseller Lam Wing-kee marches too
The call was to gather at the chief executive's office at 7pm and when YTSL and I arrived, the crowd was very small, about 200 people at most. We were despondent, but after a while it grew to several hundred.

Claudia Mo Man-ching was there, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Avery Ng Man-yuen, and even missing bookseller Lam Wing-kee, wearing his trademark cap.

The organizers explained that they didn't submit a protest march application to the police so the gathering was considered illegal. And so they advised that if you get into trouble with the police, to send an SMS with your name and ID number to a certain mobile number, and presumably some legal representation was on standby.

Things finally got started about 40 minutes later, walking back up through Tamar Park, looping down towards Citic Tower, then across a long walkway through Queensway. Walking through Pacific Place to get to the other side was particularly amusing -- a protest march through the mall? How Hong Kong!

As we walked by carrying placards and shouting slogans for CY Leung to step down, there were lots of people staring or taking pictures. Was this amusing to them?

Sixtus Leung talks to several reporters in Admiralty
When we were approaching Central, the police had no choice but to give us a lane to walk in, and the march went very smoothly. At Admiralty we saw Sixtus Leung giving TV interviews, and then by the time we hit Sheung Wan, he had caught up with us, Yau next to him.

We turned around and chatted with him, pointing out that he wasn't in trouble participating in an illegal protest, but was thrown out of the Legislative Council where he had been democratically voted in. He smiled at the irony. And his glasses? There are no lenses in them.

There was one incident at the end of Sheung Wan where someone in a building above may have poured some liquid down at the protest marchers, but we weren't sure where it came from and what it was. Another situation happened in Sai Ying Pun where we marched across a street and an impatient motorcyclist (in a gray suit) charged through the crowd which was pretty dangerous.

Probably most amusing was seeing bewildered gweilo or Caucasians staring at us in Central, completely oblivious to what was the protest was about. Many expats who live in Hong Kong don't seem to care or know about the political stalemate in the Legislative Council and how that impacts them.

Nathan Law addressing the crowd at the Liaison Office
However, you have to admit it was unusual to have a protest in the evening -- and the perfect weather for it too -- low 20s and a bit of a breeze.

In any event almost two hours later we made it to the Liaison Office in Western, where organizers told us the turnout was about 1,600. We thought it was more, but perhaps they were trying to be conservative, but it was a decent turnout considering it was hastily organized.

People like Claudia Mo, Nathan Law, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Leung Kwok-hung "Long Hair" fired up the crowd, but repeated the same messages over and over -- how we cannot let Beijing trample on our rule of law, how we cannot have a dysfunctional Legislative Council, how CY Leung has to step down...

Long Hair has suggested we come out again on Sunday... how many protest marches will it take to make those in power realize we are not happy what what's going on?

2 comments:

  1. Interesting to see which points we both made in our blog posts about this event, and which additional ones we thought worthy of commenting about, etc. ;)

    On a more serious note: I'm glad you/we went this evening to register our protests -- and that there are other people in Hong Kong who did the same.

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    1. I'm afraid that people think protests are useless or are just completely disillusioned by the whole thing and don't care anymore!

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