Backlash against Hong Kong democracy protests

Submitted by Matthew on 25 October, 2014 - 1:58 Author: Charlotte Zalens

Talks between protestors and the government in Hong Kong reopened on Thursday 16 October.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will not be attending as protesters have refused to talk to him!

On Tuesday 21 Leung said that while Beijing would not back down on vetting candidates (for 2017 elections for the Chief Executive), the selection committee could become more democratic. This has been described by the government as an “olive branch”. It is a long way from the core demands of the protesters for full democracy.

Violent clashes with police have become more frequent. On Wednesday 15th police attempted to clear protesters from Admiralty, arresting around 30. On Friday 17th police dismantled barricades in the Mong Kok area in dawn raids.

By Saturday 18th around 9,000 protesters attempted to reoccupy streets in Mong Kok; 26 arrests were made but police were largely pushed back. Protesters remain in Mong Kok and some other areas of the city.

Use of violence by the police has risen. It had been toned down a few weeks ago after international attention. Use of pepper spray and batons has injured many protesters. Protesters have been using umbrellas, the symbol of the unrest, to protect themselves.

Protesters continue to be attacked by China-loyalist thugs. Some taxi and haulage associations have threatened to take their own action against protesters’ barricades if they block key roads.

The acts of civil disobedience which have been the character of the protests so far are a useful tactic. But they have to be one tactic among many. With police repression, and lower numbers of people on the street, a need to regroup and develop more effective tactics is indicated.

Early in the protests the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) called out its affiliated unions in support of protesters.

Strikes by teachers, dockers and workers in bottling plants had pro-democracy slogans and demands. It is to be hoped that students and occupy activists can link up with the HKCTU union member to discuss tactics, defend each other, and avoid being worn down by the more organised CCP-funded thugs and the police.