Riot cops armed with pepper spray hoses & beating on students with truncheons began clearing out the democracy encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong. They did so under a court order granted a minibus company in the district claiming the encampment was hurting its business. It would have been unseemly to grant the court order to one of the strip bars or brothels in the area whose business was most affected. While police attacked protesters there was the ironic spectacle of brothel owners & strip club bouncers standing on the sidelines cheering. As he gave a thumbs-up to the police one said, “The Communist Party will never surrender.” Eyeyey!
The 7,000 cops deployed didn’t have an easy go of the removal as hundreds more joined the protests in defense. As the work day ended, hundreds more just off work also entered the fray. As riot cops moved in with pepper spray hoses, protesters took to social media Twittering for reinforcements: “Bring helmets, goggles, shields, umbrellas, towels & be careful!”
It appears the now two-month protests will not force a retreat on the undemocratic election procedures which ignited the uprising. But that doesn’t make them a defeat. Social transformation is a more difficult & protracted struggle than that. Beijing & the Hong Kong tycoons would love to unleash the kind of terror they used in Tiananmen Square in 1989 against democracy protesters but they are restrained in a way they weren’t then. Fear that a military assault on the Hong Kong protesters will trigger protest & solidarity on the mainland is the chief restraint. Hong Kong activists organize an annual protest commemorating Tiananmen Square & demanding justice. No matter how much Beijing blocks media reports on the mainland about the protests, news is certainly getting through–if only from the mainland shoppers at the upscale shopping mall in Mong Kok overlooking the protest site.
Our fullest respect & solidarity with the protesters. Nice job brothers & sisters!
(Photo by Kin Cheung/AP)