Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Protest Spirit Marches On

Some 22,000 people stand in solidarity with teachers at Chater Garden
Finally 10 weeks into the protests the rest of the world is waking up the reality that Hongkongers are fighting to defend their city.

Today things were relatively tame. The weather wasn't cooperative this morning and there was a march organized by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union with the theme, "Safeguard the next generation, let our conscience speak".

The union says some 22,000 people showed up at Chater Garden in the pouring rain. That's a lot considering there are just under 30,000 teachers in the city.

Then they marched up to Government House, where Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor lives. Or symbolically lives.

Today's slogan was "Safeguard the next generation"
Later in the afternoon the march in Hung Hom from Hoi Sham Park to Whampoa MTR station goes smoothly and peacefully and officially ends at 5.30pm. Some of the protesters splinter off to Tokwawan, others to Mongkok, throwing eggs at pro-Beijing lawmakers' offices, or leaving graffiti.

They dared to deface the office of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Unions, spray painting graffiti, throwing engine oil, eggs and leaving pineapples, that symbolize hand grenades.

Meanwhile at 6pm I try to get on the 101 bus to get to my relatives' place in Tokwawan for dinner, and the bus driver says he is only going as far as Hung Hom cross harbour tunnel. Strange since the situation in Tokwawan is relatively calm and the crowds are dispersing.

So I take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, walk to Chatham Road to catch either the number 5 or 28 bus. When I get on the no. 5 bus, the driver says he is not passing through Tokwawan, but will take us to Choi Hung. How bizarre.

Gorgeous sunset view of Lion Rock in Choi Hung
But perhaps even more interesting is that no one is fazed -- no one complains about the protesters disrupting the roads.

The bus goes on the high way and this is a route I'm completely unfamiliar with -- consider it kind of city sightseeing. We end up at a bus stop near a bus terminus and I can see Plaza Hollywood, a shopping mall that includes Diamond Hill MTR station.

I walk towards it but not without snapping this picture of Lion Rock in the pink sunset. At least one good thing came out of this roundabout drive.

Thank goodness there's a massive taxi line and within 15 minutes I arrive at my destination.

Other than a tense standoff on Nathan Road near Tsim Sha Tsui, with police trying to chase down protesters, but they are weighed down by their heavy gear. Amazingly no tear gas was fired today. Perhaps, as some people joked, it was raining, which wasn't good conditions to use it.

A laser light show in front of Mongkok police station
Protesters called it a day around 8.30pm, saving their energy for tomorrow's big rally in Victoria Park.

It's expected to be the biggest rally yet, with organizers explaining in an ad hoc press conference that they hope people will stream into the park and then have to "walk" back out towards Central. Through this constant stream they hope to have a lot of people participating.

There are a lot of calls on social media and many seem to be heeding it. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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