Contrary to widely disseminated opinion, not all
Another fallacy I've heard: that those who don't go march are all
against the anti-extradition bill protests or have no opinion about them
The weekend that recently passed has been another protest-filled one here in Hong Kong. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of thousands of people defied police objections to plans for protest marches against Triad and police violence to take place in Yuen Long, the northwestern New Territories town where thugs attacked people at an MTR station there two Sundays ago. Twenty-four hours later, thousands of people assembled at Central's Chater Garden for yet another extradition bill protest rally there.
As has become all too common, both the protests on Saturday and Sunday ended up with the police coming onto the scene and doing such as charging and firing tear gas at protesters, ostensibly to clear the scene but often when the protesters were not charging and, in fact, getting ready to leave. In Yuen Long on Saturday, the police started firing tear gas and sponge grenades at protersters as early as around 5pm. Yesterday, on Hong Kong Island, they held off until around 7pm before unleashing the first rounds of tear gas before firing rounds again around half an hour later and then again at 9pm. Oh, and they also fired rubber bullets at protesters for good measure.
A Tweet by Jeffie Lam, a journalist who calls Yuen Long home, starkly illustrated how the use of the tear gas by the Hong Kong police has become the new normal. Indeed, it's actually hard to recall that, prior to this summer of protests, the last time tear gas had been fired in Hong Kong was back on September 28th, 2014 -- and it was such an incredible shock to many as that was the first time that tear gas had been fired at Hong Kongers since 1989.
Taking things up a notch in the aftermath: instead of Carrie Lam appearing to condemn the protesters once more after yet another weekend of protests that have morphed into ones condemning her and her government along with the police and the Triads as well as demanding the withdrawal of the extradition bill she proposed that is the root of all this mess, we had the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (AKA the Liason Office, AKA Sai Wan) calling its first-ever news conference since the 1997 Handover of Hong Kong to China by Britain, during which its representatives reiterated its support for Hong Kong's Chief Executive in name (but no longer by actions).
There are some people who reacted to this "news" with disappointment. Others expected no less. And then there's the football fans among us who see Beijing's latest move as akin to Carrie Lam being given the equivalent of the dreaded vote of confidence that usually is confirmation that the person given it will soon be sacked!
Also noteworthy is that on a day that Carrie Lam was expected to temporarily emerge from hiding and make some kind of statement, a letter from jailed Hong Kong activist Edward Leung shows the kind of leadership that Hong Kong could benefit from. Meanwhile, that from his fellow Shek Pik prison-mate and activist, Benny Tai, which also was sent out today, echoes a July 1st message written on the Legislative Council Complex -- that the Hong Kong government is reaping while it sowed by doing such as ignoring peaceful protests, even ones involving millions of people.