Sunday, October 1, 2017

Protesting political persecution in Hong Kong on China's National Day

Victoria Park's Central Lawn was on the muddy side this afternoon...
Undeterred, today's protesters (including Lam Wing Kee) marched on
And many a yellow umbrella could be seen too -- both when 
the sun shone and after it started raining some two hours 
after the start of today's protest march
Three years ago today, I made my way with a group of friends from Causeway Bay to Central and then from Tsim Sha Tsui to Mongkok, for a good part along streets empty of vehicles, many of which were full of people taking part in pro-democracy protests.  Some members of that group were there that day to observe and never changed their largely detached stance -- but at least one friend and myself got sucked into the Umbrella Movement
Like this year's July 1st protest rally, this afternoon's march began at Victoria Park's Central Lawn.  Normally grassy and green, the ground was muddy as well as soggy, probably as a result of the rain that had fallen earlier in the day.  Undeterred, thousands of protesters -- many of us dressed in black, since October 1st is not a day of celebration for us -- made their way from there onto paved paths within the park and then paved roads that led us from Causeway Bay through Wan Chai to the space in Admiralty in front of  Civic Square (which remains closed to the public for all of Carrie Lam having hinted soon after she became Hong Kong's fourth Chief Executive that she'd re-open it).
Early on in the march, I spotted bookseller-turned-activist Lam Wing Kee in the company of journalist-turned-politician Claudia Mo brandishing a placard with a big red X over the words "Political Prosecution Persecution".  Enroute to Admiralty, I also caught sight of the likes of "Long Hair" Leung Kwok Hung, fellow disqualified lawmaker Lau Siu Lai, Civic Party stalwart Audrey Eu and Democratic Party veteran Emily Lau; all there to show their support for those of their political comrades currently behind bars (including Nathan Law, who had made history in September 2014 as the youngest-ever person to be elected to be a Hong Kong legislator, and the even younger Joshua Wong).
In truth though, it's less well known protest participants who I often find myself more in awed by.  In particular, I truly admire and respect the efforts of those who take part despite being wheelchair-bound and those others for whom it's also obvious that physical movement is not all that easy.  And yes, I do find myself thinking: if they can come out to take part in the march, shame on those whose spirit and resolve is so much weaker even while their bodies are so much stronger.
After the Occupy phase of the Umbrella Movement came to an end on December 15, 2014, many people became unduly discouraged and concluded that the Umbrella Movement as a whole had failed and ended.  The yellow umbrellas that continue to be brandished at protests like today's show the latter to be a lie.  And, to quote a headline of an opinion piece that appeared today, "Those who think the Umbrella Movement failed need to learn a little history"; to which I also think it apropros to add the famous John Paul Jones quote of "I have not yet begun to fight!".

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