A day near the epicenter of democracy protest

When I woke up yesterday to the news that Occupy Central movement had started, I was surprised but I knew I would go and join the students and all others at the government headquarters area in Admiralty. I arrived there at about 11am, and the area was calm and peaceful, with the young people, the high school and university students, organizing every thing, such as distributing water, masks, raincoats and goggles, and making announcements.

The Central Government Offices railing is tied with yellow ribbons, the symbol of Hong Kong's democracy movement
The Central Government Offices railing is tied with yellow ribbons, the symbol of Hong Kong’s democracy movement
One of the resources centres with all stuff donated by Hong Kong people
One of the resources centres with all stuff donated by Hong Kong people

Barriers were set up at various points where police and protesters were separated by umbrellas and barricades.

A student stands at one of the barricade points.
A student stands at one of the barricade points.
Students stood up on the barricade, at the front.
Students stood up on the barricade, at the front.
Some sit quietly in front of the police
Some sit quietly in front of the police

There was announcement from time to time which point needed more people to guard and protect and urging people to gather there. There was also announcement from time to time that the police would force their way in and clear up the site. Later we were alerted that the police were putting up gas masks and asked us to get prepared. But somehow, all the warnings did not materialize and I also believed that the police would not be so crazy that they would use tear gas. So when the police fired tear gas at about 6pm, it caught me off guard, when I had no protective gear at hand – not a mask, not a pair of goggles. I left them with my friend, who at the time was not around. The tear gas sent people rushing away, and the smoke started flowing my way.

The tear gas sent people rushing away near civic square
The tear gas sent people rushing away near civic square

At first I thought I could cope. But soon, my eyes burned, my throat burned, and my tongue burned. It was painful, very painful. Students came to me with water. One after one. Some students gave me salt water to wash eyes. We were then asked to move to Tamar Park. Among those moving to the Tamar Park, were small kids whose eyes suffered from tear gas too. It was getting dark when we settled in Tamar Park.

We retreated to Tamar Park
We retreated to Tamar Park

I was so tired that I had to lie down and take a rest. In front of me, is the beautiful Victoria Harbor, but at the back, I heard the firing of tear gas one after one, one after one. It was bizarre, and ultra-realistic.

The whole day I did not cry. But I woke up this morning, feeling so sad for this city, though at the same time feeling so proud of all the people who have stood up and fought for the dignity of being a citizen.

I was with a westerner friend yesterday. At dusk, when we were forced to retreat to Tamar Park, a young kid, probably 15 years old, came to my friend, saying, please tell the world what happens here. He thought my friend is a journalist.

The Hong Kong people have been very peaceful in their fight. This is really what I and many others saw. They put up their hands to show they did not want to use violence all the time.

The protesters wanted to use the elevator to enter Tamar Park but were denied access. Protesters all held up their hands to show they were peaceful.
The protesters wanted to use the elevator to enter Tamar Park but were denied access. Protesters all held up their hands to show they were peaceful.

It is not the people, it is the police who use excessive violence and should be condemned.photo 2

The police held up a warning banner to stop people from joining those already at the Government Headquarters protest site
The police held up a warning banner to stop people from joining those already at the Government Headquarters protest site

I am truly moved by the solidarity Hong Kong people showed yesterday. They have shown to the world that we don’t want what is dished out by Beijing (no universal suffrage in 2017 as promised by the mini constitution of Hong Kong, but a voting system that is designed to be controlled and screened by Beijing and still want us to call it “universal suffrage”!), and we will fight.

The sea of protesters in Admiralty when it was getting dark
The sea of protesters in Admiralty when it was getting dark
The sea of protesters in Admiralty from afternoon to night
The sea of protesters in Admiralty at night

Author: Anna

With a wanderlust and lusts of other sorts, I look to sth new, sth different, sth fulfilling, and find myself on a journey...

1 thought on “A day near the epicenter of democracy protest”

  1. Thank you for sharing. I am also feeling shock that the police could turn on their citizens in such a forceful manner. I wondered if HK’s relative financial comfort would result in complacency but I have been shown that citizens are outraged at Beijing’s reneging of promises as well as the heavy handed response to peaceful protest.

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