27 Sep 2014 22:00
Sunday, September 28, 2014
There has long been simmering discontent within Hong Kong regarding the granting of universal suffrage when voting for the chief executive in the upcoming 2017 elections. When Beijing handed down a decision that effectively restricted candidates to those of China’s choosing, the pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong promised to fulfil its threat of widespread demonstrations led by a movement known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace.
University students led the way with protests in the government headquarters in late September. This prompted Occupy Central organisers to bring forward their anticipated protests in the Central district. On 28 September thousands gathered near the government headquarters to express their dissatisfaction with Beijing’s arrangements and the Hong Kong’s government’s failure to respond to concerns.
The protesters were remarkable peaceful, but were antagonised by police firing pepper spray into one section of the crowd. Protesters had donned goggles, face masks and raincoats, and armed with umbrellas, protesters were prepared to resist police efforts to disperse the crowds. However, when the police started firing teargas into the crowd, this evoked outrage and shock among many. In fact, the action had the opposite action because it drew out more people to protest against the use of police force.
The protests have remained remarkably peaceful. Protesters have remained ‘camped’ in several areas of Hong Kong to blockade traffic. Many were also seen picking up rubbish and even separating it for recycling! The protest movement, heavily populated with young people, knows it needs to maintain the moral upper ground by not provoking the police.
Crowds are expected to swell in central Hong Kong ahead of Chinese National Day on October 1.