EXCLUSIVE: Hong Kong Democracy Demonstrations Day 7 — More Scenes and Signs
Posted: October 4, 2014 Filed under: Asia, Breaking News, China, Dr. Strangelove's Notebook
Last night the local press was full of reports of scuffles and fights breaking out between demonstrators and groups of men — civilians, not police — who were confronting them in the blockade of Nathan Road on the Kowloon side of the harbour. This neighborhood is far more “blue collar” than the posh areas on the island (where I live) that have been blocked. Some of those attacking the students have been confirmed to be men with “triad” backgrounds. The triads are Hong Kong organized crime gangs that are the analog of the Japanese yakuza or the US mafia. The demonstrators believe the triads have been hired by Beijing’s secret police to create provocations and bad press — to give the impression of popular opposition to the student movement. Police finally stepped in and calmed things down, but the pro-Beijing commenters are out in force on Hong Kong news websites citing the incidents as evidence of popular, grassroots opposition to the street blockades.
A Saturday stroll through the Central/Admiralty barricades to the blockaded government complex revealed significantly reinforced barriers across the roads, and a still impressive number of protesters in front of the main government building. Periodic rain squalls and a week on the streets haven’t undermined what looks like a committed core of activists who seem to give no indication of abandoning their blockades of main roads in Hong Kong.
An unmanned barricade on the far western edge of the Central demonstration area in front of the famous Mandarin Oriental hotel. A close look reveals that the demonstrators are now using stout zip ties and plastic wrap to make it impossible to clear the barricades quickly.
The westernmost manned outpost in Central — a small, lonely encampment.
A rare sight in 21st century Hong Kong — a phone booth. It bore a few notes from the protesters.
There are lots of puns and plenty of wordplay in both English and Chinese throughout the site — although what is clever in one language is just straightforward in the other.
One of Hong Kong’s busiest roads remained a pedestrian walkway on the seventh day of the demonstrations.
The ubiquitous umbrella combined with the 5-petaled flower symbol of Hong Kong.
“We want genuine universal suffrage” “Hongkongers supporting Hongkongers”
“Hong Kong” “Hope”
Hongkongers making the pilgrimage along the blocked freeway to the main demonstration site has become a regular outing.
Clearly there are some engineering students among the protesters.
Cresting the top of the overpass (“flyover” in Hong Kong’s UK-influenced English), the view of the main center of the demonstration.
Demonstrators have settled into life on the streets.
“689” is code for CY Leung — the number of votes the governor received from the Beijing-controlled electoral council.
A wall covered with post-it notes containing answers to the question “Why are we here” is a magnet for the press and visiting locals.
“Occupy Central” is (was?) the name of a semi-organized group of opposition political figures. The students have been out ahead of “OC” all through this process, for good or ill.
The Chinese is a clever pun on the word for “patriotism” — the meaning is “sorrowful for my country.”
“The people of Hong Kong thank you.”
A comment on the people who attacked protesters in Kowloon last night.
The gate to the main entrance to the government complex — now covered in yellow ribbons and protest signs.
Although the average age of the protesters seems to be somewhere around 20, it isn’t hard to find groups like this — who in more normal times might be doing tai chi in Hong Kong Park.
A van delivering hot meals to the protesters.