Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 12, 2014

Hong Kong, students and umbrellas

What has become known as the Umbrella Movement began in Hong Kong in September this year when student activists protested outside the Hong Kong Government headqarters after China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress announced its decision on proposed electoral reform.

Umbrellas became the symbol of the movement when the protestors used them as protection against tear gas. At its height there were 100,000 protesters involved in occupying parts of central Hong Kong.

My first taste of the impact of the continuing occupation was a particularly grumpy taxi driver who berated me for my entire trip because it was a short fare and the traffic disruptions would mean he wouldn’t make any money out of the ride. I apologised and pointed out that it was not my fault, and that the protesters had a point, but he continued to complain. He didn’t stop even when I paid him double the fare so I thought it best to ignore him.

The protesters have built quite a tent city in the streets around Admiralty and my friend Anup, who lives in Hong Kong and is a big supporter of the protest, took me on a tour of the closed streets. We began at a fairly quiet end of the closed streets and wandered through the well organised tents. The lights of Hong Kong provided a spectacular backdrop.

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

The students have dug in and look reasonably comfortable in their tents. There are washing lines, book shops, study corners, exercise areas, a little garden and lots of help and support for the students.

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

This is a help centre, where students can ask for help in various areas. They stick a note to the board and someone who is in a position to offer assistance responds.

Hong Kong protests

There is some interesting signage, particularly about the politician the protesters would like to go.

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protest

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protests

The focus of the protest is Umbrella Piazza. The stage was alive with speakers and a receptive audience looked on.

Hong Kong protest

Hong Kong

At the Lennon steps people are invited to leave messages on post it notes.

Hong Kong protest

Hong Kong protest
Life goes on around the tent city. Government workers can access the walkway from Admiralty station to their place of work.

Hong Kong protest

There is disruption to traffic, particularly at peak times and businesses in the area are suffering, with the exception of fast food outlets which are doing a roaring trade. I think the students are being very brave and I hope they achieve some success for all their trouble.

It will be interesting to see how this ends.


Responses

  1. Thanks for a great post Deb, very interesting to see.

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    • I am really glad I was there to see it.

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  2. I can only hope and pray that it will not end up in another Tiananmen Square.

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    • I don’t think the Chinese government would dare do that again with all the world watching.

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  3. Great post! And remarkable. Incredible to see the magnitude of this demonstration; to see it end peacefully and positively will be the greatest success. And reward. Thank you for enlightening me.

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    • It is very peaceful and well run. The students are continuing with their studies. This is certainly a time they will remember all their lives.

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  4. Great post thanks, let’s hope it all ends positively.

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    • Me too. They are getting lots of support.

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  5. How poorly is the daily news in Oz! I had no idea this was still going on!

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    • They are well entrenched still. Investigations are going on about the man they want removed. If he goes the students may feel they have had a victory and move on.

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      • I will see if I can get more information through the internet. I asked around, but most people have not heard of the Umbrella Movement at all…!
        If you do not even know about things you can’t ask for details either.
        Thanks Debra

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      • There is a lot of information in the Internet about the protests. I am surprised there is not more on the news here about it.

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  6. So interesting to see this peaceful protest, Debra. I hope that the students win out in the end. It looks very organised and non-confrontational. I do wonder though whether governments, once they’ve made up their minds on a matter, can be swayed by protestors. They’re probably hoping that if they ignore them for long enough, they’ll give up and go away. 😦

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    • I think the students will be battling to get far with the Chinese government. Public opinion is still just in their favour, but if disruption to business continues this may change.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What incredibly fascinating photos, Debra! Looks like an amazing opportunity to witness history in the making. This strangely reminds me of Haiti after the earthquake. Obviously, the two are nothing alike, except for the feel it evokes in me. Seeing so many tents and tarps transports me back to Port-au-Prince post quake.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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  8. Amazing shots Debra! And I do admire anyone that has conviction enough to stand up for what is right 🙂

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    • I think so too, and it is a very well organised operation.

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