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Showing posts with label Protests / Demonstrations / Vigils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protests / Demonstrations / Vigils. Show all posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

Graffiti and More Xiangqi at Soy Street

Although tear gas hasn't lately poured out of a pedestrian underpass on Soy Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, signs of the protests can still be found there.

"People Should Not Be Afraid Of Their Goverment [sic]" graffiti
Photo taken evening of January 16, 2020


And the xiangqi games go on as well . . .

Crowd surrounding two people playing xiangqi
Photo taken the same evening

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From Tear Gas to Xiangqii on Soy Street in Hong Kong

Around 1 a.m. on the 9th of last November, police fired tear gas into a pedestrian underpass on Soy Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The people on the other side likely weren't the intended target, but they still had to flee.



Such sights were common in Mong Kok during those days.

Where an older man had been sitting while wearing a gas mask, yesterday near midnight a crowd watched two men play a variation of xiangqi in which most of the pieces are initially flipped over to hide their identity and mixed up before setting them on the board.

men playing a xiangqi variant in Mong Kok, Hong Kong


That no gas masks were in sight or at all expected to be needed is one of the many signs of how much has changed in Mong Kong between two months ago and now.

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Face Mask Left Behind on New Year's Day in Hong Kong

I never intended to not post here for such an extended period of time. I certainly am not lacking in material or thoughts. I could post about fresh blood on a wall bordering a garden in Sheung Shui, a young woman stomping on a man's head in Mong Kok, or notes of hope in Central — all in Hong Kong.

For now, here is photo of a face mask, bricks, and a wheelbarrow in the middle of a street in Causeway Bay after a very large New Year's Day protest march and . . . more.

face mask, bricks, and wheelbarrow on a street


While the intended purposes of the items seem clear to me, I don't what exact event led to this state. I don't expect to ever know, but a chaotic scene seems likely. Plenty of such scenes played out on New Year's Day in Hong Kong. And more have since.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Before and After the New Year on a Street in Hong Kong

Just before 11 p.m in Hong Kong New Year's Eve at Sai Yeung Choi Street South seemed moderately usual:

Sai Yeung Choi Street South just before New Year's


Around 3 a.m. New Year's at Sai Yeung Choi Street South had a different feeling though:

Police at Sai Yeung Choi Street South


Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A Beatdown and a Blockade During Christmas in Hong Kong

As anticipated, there were large-scale protests yesterday in Hong Kong, and the protests continue today. I will post more about them later, including some of the ways they intermixed with the Christmas holiday spirit. For now, I will just share two photos I shared on Twitter recently along with the comments I made there.

I took the first photo not long before 2 a.m. this morning.

woman wearing a Santa cap looking at a man on the ground
Man grabs a young woman's breast.
Crowd beats man.
Man pretends to be unconscious to avoid more pain.
Hong Kong's top riot police arrive.

The incident in Mong Kok didn't appear to have any direct connection to the protests, except that the large number of protestors around probably meant a more intense response, both from the protestors and the police. There is much more I can say and share regarding what happened, and perhaps that will happen as it touches on a number of issues. I will add that the only obvious involvement by the police was chasing away protestors in the area which enabled an ambulance to safely take the man away. I was told the young woman didn't wish to formally report the man. She did not trust the police would handle the matter fairly, which says a lot about how some people in Hong Kong view the police these days.

The second photo was taken several hours later.

debris set by protestors to block Nathan Road
If you thought that the protests in Hong Kong would be over by 5am today, you'd be wrong.

The photo was taken at Nathan Road also in Mong Kok. This certainly isn't the most remarkable photo I took of the recent protests, especially since they were far more intense earlier. But the scene is notable because the protests appeared to be lasting longer into the morning than some other protests that occurred in Mong Kok during the past couple of months.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Anticipating a Lively Christmas in Hong Kong

Compared to November, the protests in Hong Kong have been relatively calm lately. However, they continue, and there are signs they will soon intensify.

yellow Hong Kong protest signs with a Christmas theme


It could be a rather eventful Christmas in Hong Kong. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

O Fortuna, the Wheel Brings Another Message

First there were ballerinas with umbrellas above "Free HK".  Then there was blackness. Now, there is a different message.

"Stop Police Cruelty" graffiti on pedestrian bridge to Central Piers with the Hong Kong Observation Wheel in the background


The "Stop Police Brutality" graffiti is on a number of beams on a pedestrian bridge connecting to the Central Piers in Hong Kong. In all of the examples I saw, they were placed directly on top of areas that had been painted black to cover previous graffiti.

two examples of "Stop Police Cruelty" graffiti on pedestrian bridge to Central Piers


It is now the predominant graffiti design on the bridge, though there is at least one example of partially symbolic graffiti expressing the protest slogan "Five Demands, Not One Less".

"Five Demands Not One Less" (using symbols) graffiti on pedestrian bridge to Central Piers with the Hong Kong Observation Wheel in the background


However, there appeared to be more examples of untouched painted-black areas than of recent graffiti. This is consistent with what I have seen in various parts of Hong Kong, whether Central, Tsing Yi, or Yau Tsim Mong. Newer protest graffiti, posters, and other forms of visible expression continue to replace older ones, but overall there is far less now compared to a few weeks ago.

And the wheel keeps turning . . . 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Protecting the Traffic Control Boxes in Hong Kong

Several weeks ago around 3:30 A.M. on November 11, protestors lit an electrical traffic control box on fired on Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.



Many other traffic control boxes were decommissioned in one way or another during recent protests. This raises the question, "How does a city restore traffic control boxes while also not making them prone to similar repeat attacks?"

An attempt to address this question now exists at the intersection of Nathan Road with Kansu Street and Gascoigne Road in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong.

traffic control box surrounded by secure bars in Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong

I didn't see any obvious way to open the barred protection. This may be a strike against usability, but that's probably the point.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Thanksgiving Dinner View of Police in Hong Kong

In the past, I have shared some of my Thanksgiving day experiences in different cities, such as drinking horse milk baijiu in Zhongshan and a rat running up my leg in Changsha. Like those times, today in Hong Kong offered me something new.

I observed the traditions by finding a buffet which included turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. For a bonus, the restaurant staff kindly sat me at a location with a prime view of the world outside. As I ate way too much food, I had the opportunity to watch a number of police vehicles, sometimes with sirens blaring and likely containing Special Tactical Squads or Police Tactical Units, head southward.

police vehicles on Hong Kong street


police vehicles on Hong Kong street


Their activity was possibly related to a nearby protest rally. I later visited it and saw no outward signs of police in the immediate vicinity though. So for the first time on this holiday, I felt like I should give thanks that no police shot tear gas in my direction today.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

O Fortuna, A Whirling Wheel in Hong Kong

graffiti of "FREE HK" and dancer holding an umbrella with the Hong Kong Observation Wheel lit up in red in the background at night

Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis . . .




——————————————————————————



So now an explanation for those who would like one:

As I took the above photo today near the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, the opening section O Fortuna from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana came to mind and it stayed there for a while. Here is an excellent recording of the widely used piece, which many will recognize at least in part even if they don't know its name, with Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus:


You can find the lyrics alongside an English translation here. The translation for the excerpt I shared above is:

Fate — monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel . . .

While much of Carmina Burana isn't as familiar to most people as the movement O Fortuna, it is certainly worth listening to in full while following along with a translation. There are even a few more references to the wheel.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Tsim Sha Tsui Sign of the Times in Hong Kong

pole with directional signs for pedestrians that was bent down to the ground by protestors in Hong Kong
Early this evening in Tsim Sha Tsui at one of many sites where protestors gathered last night hoping to help students surrounded by police at the nearby Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Remains of Vehicle Set on Fire Sit for Days in a Hong Kong Street

Early this evening as I walked through Mong Kok, Hong Kong I saw something on Sai Yeung Choi Street that seemed remarkable even after seeing and experiencing so much recently in Hong Kong regarding the ongoing protests.

burned vehicle in Mong Kok


burned vehicle with ""便衣狗車" written on it


inside of heavily damage burned vehicle in Mong Kok


Using the word "dog" for "police", common practice for protestors in Hong Kong, the markings on the the vehicle "便衣狗車" claim it is a plainclothes police car. I can't confirm this is accurate. But the vehicle does look like some unmarked vehicles I have seen on multiple occasions set in the middle of a row of marked police vehicles making their way through the city. In any case, presumably the vehicle's current state is the result of protesters.

This tweet includes a video of a car on fire in Mong Kok which appears to be a perfect match in terms of vehicle type and location:

Perhaps just as remarkable that this car was lit on fire is that it was still sitting in the street. Another person commented on this issue yesterday:

So the car has been sitting there in this not so usable state at least for a couple of days. Of course this is far from Hong Kong's most pressing issue, which is one of many signs of just how widespread and intense the protests have been lately.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fleeing the Tear Gas in Hong Kong's Central Financial District

This afternoon I observed the interaction of protestors, police, media, medics, and onlookers in Central — Hong Kong's main financial and business district. Suddenly the police started firing numerous tear gas canisters and rounds before leaving the area.

The below video begins with a large crowd following the police as they move away from the area with the frontline black-clad protestors. At 1:49 in the video, as I am standing next to a CNN crew the tear gas canisters begin to fly. As I headed westward on Pedder Street directly away from the police, I thought that quite soon either the firing would stop or that I would be out of harms way. However, the number of tear gas canisters and the distance they reached was more intense than I expected.



For more context, here is the report by CNN's Ivan Watson that was wrapping up while I recorded the above video just as the police began shooting this round of tear gas:


Incredibly this tear gassing of protestors and many others is just a small part of the protest related events today in Hong Kong and seems to pale in comparison to some of them.

And thanks to the helpful Hongkongers who provided me with eyewashes after the tear gassing. I am fine now, folks. I can't say the same for some others here though.