The Umbrella Revolution


2014-10-01 21.55.54Those of you who haven’t been living under a rock will have by now noticed that Hong Kong is in the full grip of an Umbrella Revolution. The phrase was coined on social media to illustrate the participants of Occupy Central’s use of umbrellas to protect themselves from rain – and tear gas – all while standing strong on the issue of Universal Sufferage.

This student-led movement (note, it’s not officially a ‘protest’ due to having no dedicated leader) has seen the streets of Hong Kong swell with supporters since it began on September 26th. Police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and force backfired somewhat and instead of detering folk, has instead attracted a growing number of people prepared to show their support.Β  An increasing number of areas have become somewhat paralysed over the course of the week with Admiralty, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok all joining the core in Central, where government offices are based.

The cool thing about this movement, of course other than the breathtaking aspect of youth standing up and engaging in mass political action, is the maturity with how they are approaching their protest. Volunteers hand out water bottles and snacks to ensure participants are hydrated and safe in the hot weather. First aiders roam to assist those in need. People clamber to help others negotiate barriers. Students, who are currently not attending their classes in order to participate, can still be seen doing their homework on the streets. The passion, but also the politeness and calmness of the masses is an inspiring thing to witness.

Of course the echoes of Tiananmen Square still ring through the minds of many people here. With the deadline for the protestors’ demand of CY Leung standing down as Chief Executive looming, Police have been stockpiling tear gas, rubber bullets and “other weapons” in anticipation of the movement’s planned next step – occupation of the government offices. With parts of the city paralysed, opponents vocalising their anger over the illegal occupation, the economy suffering and a China that is unlikely to heed the loud message of the students (and beyond), the world watches to see how this will all play out…

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Who would have thought the amount of people in Hong Kong would be happy to break the law in the quest for universal suffrage?!
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Categories: China, Hong Kong, News, TravelTags: , , , ,

23 comments

  1. It is indeed incredible – so many peaceful voices united. Your photos are amazing!

  2. I think about you all over there every time this is on the news; hope you all stay safe!

  3. Wow! Apparently I do live under a rock…but I’m glad I’m out from under it now! These pictures are great — what an interesting thing to be able to witness. I love the ones at night, very cool with all the lights glowing.

  4. Very interesting pictures indeed and I feel strong sympathy with the students peaceful demonstration remembering the May 1968 events in France which was an overwhelming experience for myself as a young student. Peace and love.

  5. Beautiful set of photos. I hope you guys are staying safe!

  6. You are walking in the steps of big big history, enjoy the experience but tread carefully my precious ones!
    Love

  7. Great photos to document a big moment in history. Thanks for sharing.

  8. We are all watching this very carefully – thank you for your photos that give great insight into the protests

  9. GREAT Post but as others have said be careful. Things like this can turn nasty and ugly very quickly. I wish the students all the luck in the world and success in their endeavors. It is only through striving for your dreams that they become a reality.

  10. I love seeing your photos! Only wish I were strolling around Hong Kong with you.

  11. It must have been a strong experience to have been there. Great series. Best of luck to the demonstrators and democray.

  12. Holy crap that is a lot of people! I kind of almost hyperventilated. That is some seriously amazing photo journalism!!! Hear hear democracy!!!!

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