TOP: Pro-democracy demonstrators block an area of Hong Kong’s Mong Kok shopping district Oct. 20, 2014. ABOVE: The same location Sept. 16., not quite a year after Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas at the protesters in scenes that made headline news around the world. (Carlos Barria/Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
This time last year, pro-democracy demonstrators held the heart of one of Asia’s great cities, the beginning of a months-long occupation that would shake Hong Kong and make headlines around the world.
[Then and now: Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement one year later]
In late September 2014, a group of demonstrators, led by student activist Joshua Wong, was arrested trying to occupy a public square and detained for 40 hours. Thousands took to the streets in anger, only to be sprayed with tear gas. And they defended themselves with what they had on hand — umbrellas.
TOP: Joshua Wong, leader of the student movement, rests after delivering a speech as protesters block the main street to Hong Kong’s Central district, a key business hub, outside the government headquarters building Oct. 4, 2014. ABOVE: Wong , now 18, poses in the same location Sept. 18. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters) TOP: Pro-democracy activists camp on Nathan Road in Hong Kong as part of the Occupy Central movement on Nov. 12, 2014. ABOVE: Nathan Road on Sept. 16. (Bobby Yip/Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
The Umbrella Movement called for full democracy for the former British colony, asking Beijing to back away from plans to vet candidates for the city’s top job.
TOP: “Uncle” Wong, 90, attends a rally on Sept. 24, 2014 to demand greater democracy in Hong Kong. ABOVE: Wong poses at the same location on Sept. 23. “I have taken part in pro-democracy protests since the 1980s,” he said. “If I'm too old to walk and attend the next major one, I hope someone would carry me there.” (Tyrone Siu/Reuters) TOP: Andy Yung, 30, a lifeguard, on Nathan Road on Oct. 7, 2014. ABOVE: Yung at the same location on Sept. 17. “I think the Occupy movement is a once-in-a-100-year-event in Hong Kong,” he said. “Although my family was against my participation in this movement, I will not give up any opportunity to fight for democracy.” (Bobby Yip/Tyrone Siu/Reuters) TOP: Thousands of protesters block the main street leading to the financial area known as the Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Sept. 28, 2014. ABOVE: The same location on Sept. 16. (Bobby Yip/Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
Beijing did not budge. A year later, the city’s downtown core is packed with taxis, not tents. Outside government headquarters, protesters have left notes and banners to mark the anniversary — a quiet reminder that, although the crowds have dispersed, the debate over Hong Kong’s future is far from finished.
TOP: Alex Chow, center, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, at an Occupy Central protest site Nov. 21, 2014. ABOVE: Chow in the same location Sept. 24. “I think this is the glory of the people of Hong Kong,” he said. “Have you ever seen Hong Kong people coming out to block streets and saying they need change? At that moment, you saw a totally different aspect of Hong Kong people.” (Bobby Yip/Tyrone Siu/Reuters) TOP: Protesters open their umbrellas, symbols of the pro-democracy movement, on Oct. 28, 2014, to mark exactly a month since they took to the streets in Hong Kong’s Central district. ABOVE: The same location Sept. 16. (Damir Sagolj/Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
Photos of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement one year later
Two very different men visit D.C.: China’s leader and his teenage nemesis
Why Hong Kong’s protests were a very big deal
Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world