Posted on Thu 16 October 2014

A Walk around Umbrella Revolution

Umbrella Revolution sign

The Umbrella Revolution (from the umbrellas used to protect against tear gas) has been going on for nearly a month, yet publicity is scarce; fading out almost completely in the last two weeks.

Which is a shame - here's a vibrant city struggling for a most basic right, fair and independent elections, and yet we in the west, so proud of our democracies, stand by and watch?

all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing

By chance I've been in Hong Kong for the past few days, and meeting these protesters - both young and old - really struck a chord in me. They risk their freedom and lives for something they passionately believe in, but all we know of it is a short clip in the evening news. No more!

I invite you to join me on a little journey to the protests:

Study Corner sign


First a quick overview what the protests are about: In September, the government in Beijing announced its decision on electoral reform. Disallowing civil nominations, only candidates elected by a 1200-member committee (which in turn is nominated and controlled by Beijing) could be voted on by the general public in Hong Kong.

Protests against this decision began on September 22nd, with a blockade of vital streets in Admiralty in central Hong Kong from September 28th. Unnecessary force and tear gas by the police and attacks on protesters lead to further support for the protests from citizens, while using umbrellas to protect themselves against tear gas and pepper spray gave rise to the name of "Umbrella Revolution".

For more detail, see the Wikipedia article [cached]2014 Hong Kong protests and [cached]Should Hong Kong have democracy? from Time Out Hong Kong. Or [cached]Occupy Central directly.


Protesters have been quite creative in building their barricades, using everything from normal police barricades

Police Barricades with Tents in front

to more improvised barricades:

Barricades built from wood and garbage cans


The protests are home to countless new pieces of art

Lennon Wall

a lot of it inspired by umbrellas:

wooden Statue holding yellow umbrella umbrella made out of thousands of tiny umbrellas winged girl with umbrella hugging hong kong


While there are people from all walks of life, students are of course strongly represented. They've even set up a friendly study corner,

Study Corner sign line of students studying

A little island of normality in the chaos of the protests:

please take off your shoes sign


As goes without saying nowadays, everything will be accompanied by appropriate memes:

Things the students are doing -- How they see us No Freedom? No Democracy? NOPE

Gov Y U no listen?

I'm so angry I made a sign YouLowB

It's Serious

Don't take a few funny pictures to mean the situation isn't serious - far from it. Remember where the name "Umbrella Revolution" came from:

Student with umbrella surrounded by tear gas

One man has been on hunger strike for 15 days now:

Man on Hunger Strike for 15 days


The hopes are as high as the stakes

you may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one

and people know how serious it is:

my parents are crying for me - I'm crying for the future

I have to stress: This is completely peaceful, protesters couldn't be more friendly and welcoming.

Welcome sign


Please Stay

Yes, you! You might not be able to help here in Hong Kong, but you can still provide support: Call up your local politicians and pressure them to support Hong Kong internationally, raise awareness amongst your friends, tell someone who might be able to do more, even just share this post.

For a more extensive set of photos in full resolution, please see my album on Google+

Tags: life

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