"A New Level of Peak Living Awaits" even while Hong Kongers
seek a Free Hong Kong, possibly with "Revolution Now" if the
"Mother of Violence" does not accede to protesters' five demands
One more weekend with closed MTR stations
It's late in the day but bands of protesters and police are continuing to play a cat and mouse game that has seen various groups moving around different parts of Hong Kong on both side of Victoria Harbour for much of the day. Like with last Saturday, the protests began peacefully -- this even though, unlike the past weekend's, they were not sanctioned by the police -- and but even before night fell, protesters and police clashed: first at Admiralty, a prime protest site on account of the Central Government Complex being located there; and then moving on to a bunch of other locales, including Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok (all three of them prime shopping areas and which, along with Admiralty, were "Occupied" for a time in 2014).
In a further escalation of police violence, water cannons -- including that which emited blue dye along with plain water -- were employed at Admiralty today in addition to the now usual tear gas. Petrol bombs were also thrown at the police, and fires lit on streets in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and elsewhere -- but even as people looked askance at all this, what has shocked many even more is that at least one of the "protesters" throwing petrol bombs appears to have been an undercover cop; one of many deployed yet again in circumstances that are controversial, to say the least.
The way many people see it, the deployment of undercover police dressed up like protesters shows the Hong Kong police playing a dangerous game. For one thing, it sows suspicion that many of the more radical and violent acts ascribed to protesters may well have been instigated or even enacted by "black" undercover cops trying to escalate matters and pin blame on protesters. For another, undercover cops are liable to panic after their cover is blown and do such as proceed to fire a live round to protect themselves -- like what actually happened earlier today.
Frankly, it's not like the reputation of the police force that most emphatically no longer is regarded as Asia's finest is already in tatters and is going to take a miracle to salvage. Further examples of ultra questionable conduct on their part today include their deciding to strip-search four women out on the street in Causeway Bay this evening. That this happened just three days after a rally against police sexual violence attracted some 30,000 people represtents a real "up yours" to Hong Kongers and the #MeToo movement in general.
By a similar token, the fact that thousands of people turned up to protest today -- despite the campaign of "white terror" currently being waged that has seen planned protests being banned, and pro-democracy activists and politicians slapped with charges from seemingly out of blue and arrested -- surely represents a mega show of defiance against the Hong Kong government and Beijing. To be sure, I definitely would have preferred that the protests had been peaceful.
But I still will applaud all those who came out to show their continued commitment to the cause and willingness to fight for the Hong Kong they want: one where, among other things, the police are not political tools that act like a branch of China's public security machinery, and Hong Kongers' rights to freedom of assembly, movement, speech and expression are truly guaranteed once more.