The new era of disobedience in Hong Kong started 4 days after student strike was officially declared last 22 of September 2014. On Friday 26, supporters of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement took over and occupied the government headquarters.
Their discontent began when China refused to reconsider and change the existing Hong Kong electoral reform and demanded for people to freely choose the city’s next leader in 2017. Even though the upcoming election would allow Hong Kong citizens to vote for the first time, the current system in play restricts the number of candidates whom may need to secure support from at least 50% of the 1,200 members on a nominating committee, and their numbers will be capped in any given race at two or three candidates.
Hong Kong has enjoyed political autonomy and freedom since its return from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under a formula known as “one country, two systems”. Chinese leaders agreed then that the chief executive would be chosen by “universal suffrage” in 2017 but Beijing has not kept its promises.
The historical, unprecedented and massive occupations in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon want to put pressure on the government by limiting and affecting city’s capabilities and commerce. Seeking for “true” universal suffrage and democracy, in a peaceful and organized manner, protesters barricade themselves in key touristic and economic areas. Protestors conveniently armed themselves with umbrellas, subsequently became the rallying symbol with the catchy name Umbrella Revolution, used them to deflect against the use of pepper spray by police and as a protection in sunny and wet weather.
An overwhelmed police and government have shown their lack of experience in handling the peaceful protestors with unnecessary force last Sunday 28th of September when 87 cans of tear gas were fired.
Many citizens start to question whether protestors can maintain their momentum and keep putting pressure into the government or if the disobedience may backfire causing waves of hatred between anti and pro occupy movement. Whatever the result may be after the occupations, the new era in Hong Kong has just begun.