Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators remained overnight at four separate Occupy Central sites in Hong Kong yesterday.
Police have kept a low profile since deploying tear gas and pepper spray on Sunday upon unarmed demonstrators. Students have been left to enact their own crowd control measures, with lanes, direction signs and makeshift bridges constructed across road barriers.
Yesterday was the annual China National Day public holiday in the city. Over in Victoria Park, literally tens of people were queuing up to take part in patriotic festivities organised by the government.
Game stalls and several bouncy castles were sparsely attended. The vintage-themed restaurant was, of course, busy, but the food was not free. The muted atmosphere was in contrast to the festive and jovial ambiance of the protest camps.
A noticeably different demographic were in attendance at the China National Day events. This blogger bought the average age of revellers down to around 74.
Earlier that morning, CY Leung said that Beijing’s constitutional reform package was a “big step forward” for democracy in Hong Kong.
Overnight, a fourth occupation camp was set up in Tsim Sha Tsui. Several hundred protesters staged a sit-in throughout the day with a van, two skips, bins and barricades re-purposed to form blockades in three areas of Canton Road.
Chan Kin-man, one of the three initiators of the Occupy Central movement was in good spirits, though has said that he would never sit next to CY Leung to negotiate. Protest leaders are demanding that Leung step down and that the constitutional reform process is restarted.
Student leaders Lester Shum and Agnes Show said at a news conference that protests will continue and that occupations could be expanded to key government offices. However, conscious of liability or being seen as stepping on other group’s toes, she emphasised that it is now an organic movement led by the people and that there are no leaders.
The ‘umbrella tree’ artwork sits opposite government headquarters. Nearby on Sunday, thousands were affected by repeated clouds of tear gas deployed by police who had the area on lockdown.
As night fell, thousands more joined protesters in Admiralty.
A 16-year-old school girl named Cola rallies people to add a message of support to a huge ‘democracy wall’ that has appeared opposite government headquarters. The scene is reminiscent of a similar wall that appeared in Beijing in 1978 – which was also a focus point of democratic dissent.
This time last week, it was thought that only a couple of thousand people would stage a sit-on on a closed road in the central business district. Many of those attending the unprecedented demonstrations are reacting to the behaviour of the police over the weekend.
A bus stranded in at a blockaded protest site in Kowloon has disappeared under a sea of supportive messages.
Wing (left), who cannot remember if she is six or seven-years-old, helps hand out yellow ribbons for universal suffrage in the Mong Kok occupation zone.
Another abandoned bus in Kowloon is barely visible under protest placards, messages of support and slogans.
A mocked-up licence plate makes an impolite reference to CY Leung’s nickname. 689 represents the number of people who voted Leung to power, despite Hong Kong being home to over seven million people.
Demonstrators dismantle barricades to rapidly make way for an ambulance as it is escorted out of the Mongkok protest site.
Sampson Wong invented the ‘Add Oil Machine’ (meaning ‘add energy’) as a new media art project. Supporters from around the world can leave a message at http://occupier.hk/. Messages are then projected on to a wall overlooking the Admiralty protest site.
Pro-democracy Legislator Lee Cheuk-Yan said “I think the people of Hong Kong already made history with a very high quality of struggle, sticking to non-violence whilst facing tear gas.” He said it was an “unbelievable achievement” and thinks the protests will continue.
Just after midnight, 17-year-old student organiser Joshua Wong addressed crowds at the sit-in around government headquarters. He urged protesters to be prepared and photograph front-line police officers if they attempt to clear the site.
Thursday is another public holiday – Chung Yeung Festival. It is unclear whether police will attempt to move protesters in time for the working day on Friday. It is possible that a general strike may be called. With few concessions on the government side, it seems feasible that the occupation protests could roll on for days.
Hong Wrong on RTHK Radio 3: