Global Opinions

‘We shall never surrender’: Three days of chaos in Hong Kong

Ring Yu/AP

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has withdrawn a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to China, a key demand of protesters who have overwhelmed the city for 13 weeks. But pro-democracy activists, who have four other demands including universal suffrage, say the concession is not enough. Over the past few days, protesters were embroiled in the most violent clashes yet with police. The events of the past weekend show how the concerns of Hong Kongers are not going away.

Ring Yu/AP

Saturday, Aug. 31

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Protesters gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of the pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement,” despite a ban on the march. Riot police deployed tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and batons. They trained water cannons at the protesters, dying demonstrators blue to make it easier to identify them later.

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

By night, protesters gathered in the Causeway Bay shopping district. Some threw gasoline bombs at the police, according to the Associated Press. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Clashes ensued inside the Prince Edward metro station, where witnesses described police indiscriminately attacking people. Dramatic video shows four individuals cowering as police used what appeared to be pepper spray inside a subway car. Note: The following video may be disturbing to some viewers.

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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Pakkin Leung @Rice Post via Storyful

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The Hong Kong police force stated that radical protesters had vandalized and damaged parts of the metro station.

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Sunday, Sept. 1

Kin Cheung/AP

By Sunday, the protesters had reorganized and focused on Hong Kong’s airport. The international hub is vital to the city’s economy, and activists hoped that crippling it would force the government to respond to their five demands: (1) the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, (2) the government’s withdrawal of the word “riot” in relation to protests, (3) the unconditional release and amnesty of arrested protesters, (4) an independent inquiry into police brutality and (5) universal suffrage.

Kin Cheung/AP

Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Kin Cheung/AP

Kin Cheung/AP

Ng Han Guan/AP

With Chinese paramilitary vehicles moved into Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, the state-run Xinhua news agency ran an editorial stating “the end is coming” for protesters. Chinese authorities said the armored personnel carriers are part of a routine drill.

Ng Han Guan/AP

Monday, Sept. 2

Seongjoon Cho/Bloomberg

By the end of the weekend, police had arrested at least 150 people, but students — the core of the protest movement — responded with more resolve. On Monday, thousands boycotted the first day of school in the former British-controlled territory.

Seongjoon Cho/Bloomberg

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The Washington Post

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Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Many young Hong Kongers have grown up dreading 2047, when the the city’s “One country, two systems” agreement expires with Beijing. The protests sparked by a bill to allow extraditions to China have evolved into much deeper concerns about preserving the city’s unique culture and democratic system. Despite the withdrawal of that bill, protesters say they will persist until all of their demands are met.

Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

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Chinese officials are warning Hong Kong teachers to keep their campuses “pure and quiet.” If Beijing truly wants to keep the peace in Hong Kong, it should honor the autonomy it promised the city when it signed an international treaty with Britain three decades ago. Starting a dialogue about Hong Kong’s democracy now will be easier than in 2047.

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