Monday, 14 October 2019

American-Themed Protest

Some 130,000 people showed up at tonight's protest rally in Central
Tonight was the first legal protest gathering since the government instituted the anti-mask ban on October 5, and organizers believe some 130,000 people showed up. When I passed by the area at around 5.15pm, several people were already sitting in Chater Garden while a sound system area was being set up.

Fifteen minutes after the event started at 7pm, thousands of protesters had spilled onto the roads near Chater Garden and Prince's Building, creating a massive traffic jam in Central. They turned on the lights on their smartphones, while others played with laser pointers on nearby buildings.

Many masked protesters waved American flags
Most of the people were in their 20s and 30s, some wearing masks, many coming from work. Some were fully dressed with masks, while others just put on a surgical mask.

This time several people waved large American flags in a bid to persuade the United States Congress to pass the proposed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The vote will be held Wednesday morning Hong Kong time.

Some people held printed paper signs like "Thank you Daryl Morey!" "Thank you South Park!" and "Sir, this way", referring to US President Donald Trump.

It was impossible to hear what was being said in Chater Garden with so many people around and sporadically shouting slogans and singing Glory to Hong Kong, the protest anthem. I didn't stay, but Demosisto secretary-general Joshua Wong made an impassioned speech that whipped up the crowd.

Some thanked Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets
Making my way towards the Central MTR station was a challenge with so many people there, and we had to clear the street to allow two firetrucks to go by, and people clapped as they did. There were lots of chanting of slogans like "Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution of our Times!" or "Fight for Freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!"

There was so many people here tonight that it was heartening to see they were willing to come out, maybe there were restricted by their jobs or obligations not to attend illegal gatherings. All areas around Chater Garden were blocked with people, including Connaught Road Central and as far west as Pedder Street. The tram driver on Chater Road sat back in his tram, empty of passengers, and was amused that he wouldn't be getting back to the terminus anytime soon.

When I finally made it to the Central MTR entrance, in a walk that took 20 minutes and usually takes about five minutes, people kept streaming up from the escalator, with hundreds more down below walking towards the exit.

There was a full moon in the distance as more people came
In response, the Hong Kong government was not pleased about the gathering. In a statement, an unnamed spokesman said that" foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR".

"Since the return to the Motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The 'one country, two systems' principle has been fully and successfully implemented. Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation. The HKSAR Government attaches great importance to them and is determined to safeguard them."

The government is definitely towing the Party line here, with the words "Motherland", and "attaches great importance"...

We're all waiting with baited breath to see what kind of speech Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will make in her policy address at the Legislative Council on Wednesday...

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