Pro-democracy protesters’ anger still burning bright
Published by The i paper (19th August, 2019)
The rain fell in torrents – but the tide of people kept on flooding into the park before overflowing into surrounding streets stuffed with fashionable shops. They chanted for freedom.
It was incredible to see such energy on this 11th consecutive weekend of protest, which has evolved from anger over an extradition bill with China into demands for full democracy. And it was inspiring to see the defiance of Hong Kong’s people, led by their younger generations.
This has become the biggest dissident challenge to Beijing since the slaughter at Tiananmen Square 30 years ago. There are growing fears of Chinese intervention, fuelled by paramilitary police carrying out riot control drills just over the border.
Yet again and again I have heard from protesters of their determination to keep on fighting. ‘We are terrified of China taking us over, not just for our generations but the next ones,’ said a 22 year-old man student amid a clash with police on Saturday night. ‘But if they come in with their troops, they will burn with us.’
Yesterday’s protest was organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, an umbrella group that organised the first marches in June. Police tried to stifle the event, but just fuelled their growing unpopularity. ‘Hong Kong people will soldier on,’ said organiser Bonnie Leung.
I suspect she is right.