ONE YEAR LATER

Photos: Hong Kong demonstrators marked one year since the pro-democracy “umbrella movement”

In Hong Kong yesterday (Sept. 28), hundreds of campaigners marked the first anniversary of the 79-day “umbrella movement” calling for greater democracy and autonomy for the former British colony. Gathered in front of the government’s headquarters, they held aloft yellow umbrellas and carried signs with statements like “I want true universal suffrage.”

The banner reads, “I want true universal suffrage."
The banner reads, “I want true universal suffrage.” (Jane Li)

The demonstrators used symbols and inside references to get across their message. For example, 87 umbrellas were placed in front of the government buildings. Not coincidentally, the police used 87 tear gas canisters during one particularly harsh attempt (paywall) to disperse crowds in late September 2014.

Yellow umbrellas placed in front of Hong Kong's government offices.
Yellow umbrellas placed in front of Hong Kong’s government offices. (Poo Yee Kai)

Some demonstrators held signs with “689,” referring to the small number of votes that Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying received when elected in 2012. The election committee was mostly pro-Beijing or pro-business and had 1,200 members, yet Leung still managed to get less than 700 votes. He was widely scorned during the protests last year.

The "689" refers to the small number of votes that Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying received when elected in 2012.
The “689” refers to the small number of votes that Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying received when elected in 2012. (Poo Yee Kai)

Hundreds of demonstrators turned up to mark the anniversary. The numbers came nowhere near the tens of thousands that flooded the streets last year, of course, when “occupiers” refused to leave the financial Central district for many weeks on end.

The yellow umbrellas carried by demonstrators seen from above.
The yellow umbrellas carried by demonstrators seen from above. (Shen Zhefan)
Demonstrators crowded into the area in front of the Hong Kong's government buildings.
Crowds occupied much of the space outside the government buildings in Hong Kong. (Poo Yee Kai)

The demonstrators were surrounded by police, who made their presence felt, as they did last year.

Police surround the protestors.
Police surrounded the demonstrators. (Shen Zhefan)
An officer on hand at the protests.
An officer on hand at the demonstrations. (Jane Li)

Student leader Lester Shum was among the speakers addressing the crowd. Student activists also played an key role in last year’s movement.

Student leader Lester Shum addressing the crowd.
Student leader Lester Shum addressing the crowd. (Poo Yee Kai)

 

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