An encouraging message (Hong Kong, add oil)
Angry, but funny too?
I spent close to an hour standing around waiting for yet another extradition bill-related protest march to get going from Victoria Park yesterday afternoon and another four hours or so marching with hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of Hong Kong. Like many people, I had dinner close to where our march ended and then took the MTR home.
Unlike some unfortunate protesters and their fellow passengers who got off at Yuen Long MTR station, my return journey was expectedly uneventful. They, on the other hand, were met by a gang of men armed with sticks inside the station itself, who went about indiscriminately attacking unarmed people -- including at least one heavily pregnant woman, journalists, a sportcaster, a church worker and at least one Legislative Councillor.
At least 45 people were seriously enough injured to have to be seen to in hospitals, with one man in critical condition. Matters were not helped by the police not having promptly respond to emergency calls for assistance, never mind being on patrol in the area in response to rumors circulated in the afternoon that white t-shirt clad Triad members were seeking to ambush people returning from the protest march there.
As might be expected, this has led to suspicions of collusion between the police and the thugs. Then there's the fact of last night's violent acts looking awfully like what was called for by a speaker at Saturday's pro-police and -Beijing rally, and pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho having met with a group of men clad in white who looked suspiciously like the attackers who had gone on a rampage in Yuen Long MTR station in Yuen Long town yesterday.
My first reactions upon learning of all of this was of shock and horror. But the sadness of last night has actually developed today into anger and a determination to ensure that fear and bullying tactics do not prevail in Hong Kong. And judging from posts I've seen on social media today, it would seem that anger at what ensued in Yuen Long last night is indeed the prevailing emotion of many Hong Kongers.
It might strike some as strange but this actually gives me hope in Hong Kong and feel far less despondent today than I was on the night of June 12th and the day after. For one thing, I believe all this anger is a sign that people's resolve to see this anti-extradition bill protests through remains strong. And it being so widespread surely is not something that those who committed the violence last night and those who encouraged them to do so anticipated at all; a sure sign that they have under-estimated and mis-read once again the mood and spirit of a good majority of Hong Kongers.