Sunday, 6 November 2016

Umbrella Protests 2.0?

Police shooting pepper spray at protesters near the Liaison Office tonight
Police and protesters are clashing in Sai Ying Pun as I write this post around 10.45pm on Sunday evening. The MTR has announced that the station entrance there is blocked and has told commuters to get out or get in at HKU station instead.

Meanwhile on Queen's Road West protesters are armed with whatever they have -- masks, googles and umbrellas, while police stand ready with riot shields and helmets ready to subdue violently if need be.

Earlier today people gathering for the afternoon protest march
But the afternoon didn't start like that.

At the appointed time of 3pm, there were some 11,000 people gathered at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to march to the former Legislative Council in Central which is now the Final Court of Appeal.

There were some amusing caricatures of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as well as Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, someone waved the Hong Kong colonial flag and some had yellow banners that read "I want true universal suffrage".

We saw the likes of "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and press reports had Youngspiration pair Sixtus Baggio Leung Hung-chang and Yau Wai-ching there.

Protesters showing off their handmade signs and umbrellas
The march began in earnest around 3.40pm and unlike Wednesday evening which was a pleasant stroll, this march painfully inched its way out of Southorn Playground to see even more people standing outside -- by the garbage dump -- which made us realize there were even more people than we expected.

Just as we came out of Southorn Playground near a church was a small group of pro-establishment protesters using a bullhorn to taunt protesters for being like dogs. Marchers just drowned them out periodically with the Chinese version of boos (hurrrrrrr). But it was good because they got the crowd ignited for their cause, though for the rest of the way we were quiet, not even chanting slogans.

However it seemed like the police were limiting our progress and periodically we had to stop and wait, though no one was complaining. In the crowd were seniors, middle-aged, young families, young people, young couples holding hands.

We finally arrived at the Final Court of Appeal at 5pm, though the crowd was encouraged to go to the Liaison Office -- a destination that was not part of the official protest march plan.

There were some 11,000 people marching peacefully earlier
I left at this point to go for a swim, and when I went back to the same spot to go take the MTR around 7pm, there were still media and some people milling around.

My two other friends headed to Western District and around that same time people were trying for 45 minutes to get the police to open sections of the road to protesters who had been confined to the pavement.

Some had enough trying to wait for the police to accommodate the situation and jumped the barricades, which promoted the police to unfurl its warning sign and then use pepper spray on protesters around 8pm.

Reports on the ground say the scene is reminiscent of how the Umbrella protests erupted two years ago and currently the police are trying to contain the situation, though protesters are now spreading through Sai Ying Pun, which resulted in the MTR shutting its gates, much to the frustration of commuters who may not even be protesters.

At this juncture some people decide to go to Western District
The police are hoping people will leave peacefully, but it may be a long night.

This is what happens when the lingering anger and frustration from the Occupy protests are not fully resolved, and with Beijing voicing its say in the oath-taking issue now called #oathgate, Hong Kong people are more frustrated than ever at trying to protect whatever they have left.

For more on the clashes this evening head to Webs of Significance.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. And totally agree that this felt like Occupy Mark 2. The powers that be seem to think that it's a case of "give them an inch, they'll take a mile". They clamp down rather than allow people to let off steam, etc.. And the result is that people then really want to rise up, and we feel, more than ever, like we're sitting on a powder keg.

    1. It's a lot of residual anger and frustration that has hardly been resolved. Occupy people are trying to do it politically but they are being stopped...