Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution may be the politest protest ever

Just make sure you hang them up neatly.
Just make sure you hang them up neatly.
Image: Reuters/Bobby Yip
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HONG KONG—Walking through the protests that have closed down central Hong Kong for more than two days can turn up some surprising scenes. Sure, the pro-democracy crowds, mostly teenagers and twenty-somethings clad in black, are singing songs, chanting slogans, and brandishing signs denouncing the Chinese government and Hong Kong’s chief executive, C.Y. Leung.

Image for article titled Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution may be the politest protest ever
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

But they’re also quite possibly the most well-mannered activists ever, who seem as hellbent on leaving behind a good impression as they do agitating for the city’s top elected official to step down—and telling Beijing to stuff it.

This sign is one of many apologies posted around the city:

Here’s another, posted in Mongkok:

Protesters are constantly picking up trash, including cigarette butts and tiny scraps of paper:

Not to mention being sure to recycle:

Teenage “occupiers” in school uniforms have been spotted diligently doing their homework:

And protesters are observing posted signs, even though their protests have been deemed illegal:

The protesters’ politeness may be one of the reasons that, despite changes to dozens of bus routes, companies being forced to ask employees to work from home, and entire neighborhoods made accessible only by foot, the demonstrators have not sparked much general ire from other Hong Kongers. Instead, the students were joined last night by tens of thousands of supporters. Tonight’s crowds are expected to be even larger.