As questions swirled over why it was that Hong Kong police were absent for almost 45 minutes as thugs with wooden sticks and bats beat both black-clad activists returning from a protest and regular civilians in the train station, and in a carriage, many are alleging collusion between law enforcement forces and organized crime gangs known as triads. The government and police have strongly denied the existence of such links. However, in a recording obtained by Reuters, a Chinese official was heard encouraging residents of a village in the rural area near the scene of the attacks that they should drive away any protesters from the area in order to maintain peace just days before the July 21 mayhem. Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong has denied allegations linking it to the mob violence.

Others see comparisons even on a granular level. Edison Hung, a 31-year-old music critic, said he saw similarities between how Euromaidan began as a student-led protest that was peaceful and even uplifting, with people singing songs “with a degree of innocence, just like in Hong Kong.” One scene in particular in Winter on Fire, where the bell ringer of a cathedral near the Maidan rang the church bells to signal to people to head to the square to defend protesters from government forces, reminded Hung of how Christians have played a central role in the current Hong Kong protests, for example by incessantly singing hymns to lend support to protesters and defuse tensions.

For now at least, one of the key things that differentiates the two protest movements is the lack of deadly violence in Hong Kong. The city’s police have so far responded to what they say is worsening violence on the part of the protesters with weapons including tear gas, pepper spray, batons, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds. Though it represents a significant escalation of tactics on both sides, there have been no deaths in the protests thus far. In the Maidan, dozens of people lost their lives, some after being shot by snipers. Thousands more have died in the ensuing war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

“The protests in Hong Kong are 90% similar to Ukraine’s. The only difference being that they haven’t used real bullets in Hong Kong yet,” wrote a user named Zuki Po in a Facebook post (link in Chinese) that broke down in detail the similarities between the two uprisings using timestamps from Winter on Fire as reference points.

As the protests in Hong Kong seem likely to drag on with no political solution in sight, however, the protests that inevitably turn into street battles against police will only intensify. Police have already signaled that they’re prepared to use increasingly powerful crowd-control tactics, such as water cannons, and clashes between the two sides are beginning earlier and earlier in the day. For now, there’s also no sign that Beijing is prepared to send its army to quell the unrest, despite growing fears in recent weeks of such a likelihood. Still, when watching scenes such as when Hong Kong protesters stormed the legislature and said that they were prepared to be arrested for it, Hung, the music critic, saw shades of the Ukraine protests.

“That made me think of the movie where people said that they were ready to die for (the cause). And they did die.”

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