The End of the Hong Kong Occupy Protests for Democracy.

A Door into LegCo. A Door into Power. #umhk #umbrellamovement #occupyhk

In the early hours of Nov 19th, a few dozen young people charged at the the glass front of Hong Kong's legislative council building. With metal police barricades they broke two glass doors with force and four people gained access. In doing so they committed a beautiful symbolic act, its imagery lost in the fracas of bickering.

The four of them took over, where the laws are made. A place if Hong Kong was a democracy, we would have owned, and where the head of parliament from our chosen party would be working. But Hong Kong is not a democracy, and no one had heeded the call for such by these young people for over 50 something days. The young get angry, it's just the way it is. 

Instead of being understood and sensibly disagreed with, the backlash was roaring. The newspapers, news outlets, twitter, forums, political groups and faux political parties all had something to say. 

These young people were quickly abandoned legally by the well financed adults who suggested they should break the law in the first place -by occupying the city illegally. They were "condemned" like feudal criminals by modern day mandarins of both the pan-democratic coalition kind as well as the pro-communist party kind. Then called rioters, violent radicals, blamed for being a "major setback for the movement." Then the worse, betrayed and turned in by fellow protesters, a la cultural revolution.

Rioters and Radicals for what? For breaking two doors, going into a building, and not smashing it to pieces or setting it on fire? For not spreading their anger and frustration to other parts of the city, and continuing destroying public and private property? 

The most level headed and least accusatory comment came from the police. They called it an "incident," which had acts of public disorder."

Because to the police, damaging property and trespassing -a riot does not make.

Riots lasts a lot longer than a four minutes clip, and the debris is not single digit panels of glass.

The 1992 LA Riots caused 1 billion dollars in damages, with 2000 injuries, 53 deaths in the span of 6 days. Ferguson MI, so far has a $170 000 bill in police cars alone, and there might be another round of rioting coming soon. Over in Europe; the 2011 London Riots cost an estimated £200 million damage in five days. France 2005: 10 Parisian suburbs and 15 urban centers burned for over two weeks.

Even our home grown Star Ferry riot caused one death, dozens injured, 1,800 arrests, managing to create 20 million of 1966 dollars in damage.

For people to call this one slightly messy evening, with only bits of broken glass and concrete a riot isn't anything but an overreaction.

And for some, a perfect word for manipulation. It's exactly what the anti-umbrella movements need to whip up public outcry and diminish public sympathy. And the older and more established democratic leaders are helping that process along nicely by making a huge deal about it. 


The comments to this entry are closed.