Socialist Worker

Hong Kong's protesters refuse to leave the streets

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2426

Protester being arrested in Hong Kong

Protester being arrested in Hong Kong (Pic: Rayman Cheuk @ USP United Social Press)


Televised talks were taking place between the leaders of Hong Kong’s government and the ongoing Occupy protest movement as Socialist Worker went to press.

Demonstrations and occupations have gripped the region for over four weeks and caused a deep crisis for Hong Kong’s rulers.

Hong Kong’s 28,000 police force has battled the movement.

Riot police waded in to attack protesters in the Mong Kok district last weekend, injuring dozens of people. 

Protesters held umbrellas to defend themselves against police batons. 

On Sunday evening they collected equipment to protect against the police attacks—including helmets and homemade foam forearm shields.

Many protesters were refusing to leave the streets on Monday of this week. 

Around 1,000 people are also camped on Hong Kong Island as part of the Occupy movement.

Protesters have called on Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying to resign. 

He made a desperate attempt to undermine support for the protests this week by accusing “external forces” of driving them. 

China is refusing to retreat because it fears demands for real democracy spreading to the mainland. 

This makes it difficult for the government in Hong Kong to make any concessions that could discourage new protests.

People are demanding the right to choose Hong Kong’s leader in elections in 2017.

Autonomy

The arrangement with China —known as “one country two systems”—means that Hong Kong’s rulers have a level of autonomy.  

But the Chinese government  still vets all candidates in the election.

The protests have been supported by both university and school students, and one of the trade union federations. 

The state has begun to clamp down on protesters’ use of social media to build the movement. 

Hong Kong head of security Lai Tung-kwok said activists affiliated to “radical organisations” were “conspiring, planning and charging violent acts”.

Police have arrested a 23 year old man for “access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent”. 

They claimed he had used an online forum to encourage people to join “the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok, to charge at police and to paralyse the railways”.

But so far every action that the state and the police have used to try and crush the movement has backfired. 

The movement continues to grow—and win solidarity.

Large screens on the streets relay messages of support including from people in Gaza and Ferguson in the US.

Meanwhile Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the governing legislative council, has caused fresh outrage among protesters. 

He was pictured next to a Liverpool Football club emblem with the words, “You’ll never walk alone”—his message to Hong Kong police.

Liverpool supporters in Hong Kong gathered over 5,000 signatures on a statement within 24 hours. 

Campaigners raised over £5,000 to pay for the statement to be printed in a Hong Kong daily paper on Friday of last week. 

And a large group of Liverpool fans sang, “You’ll never walk alone” at one of the Occupy sites, and a banner bearing the anthem’s words could be seen during a demonstration this week.


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