When everyone else was celebrating Christmas, Hong Kong was trying fighting anti-government protestors who had stormed through shopping centers. The demonstrations ruined Christmas festivities for hundreds of tourists as well as locals. They led to the closure of many shopping malls and stations, including Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. The closure of the stations was a big blow to the MTR Corporation, whose services run overnight during the Christmas season.
The chaotic scenes prompted the police to fire rounds of teargas and pepper spray in an attempt to scatter them. However, the protestors would hear none of these threats and instead lashed back at the police with sporadic Molotov cocktails. They blocked roads and recklessly destroyed businesses believed to be supporting the government.
Starbucks was one of the biggest targets of the protesters. They claimed that one of the daughters of its founders had criticized them during a UN human rights council in Geneva. A branch of the HSBC bank was also a primary target because the radicals believe that it holds an account for the government, and the money in it is for illegal uses.
‘’We fight for freedom, we fight for our future’’
This was one of the many messages on the banners the masked protesters carried as they chanted “Revive Hong Kong, revolution of our time.” According to Ken, one of the protesters and an 18-year-old student, “Lots of people are shopping, so it’s a good opportunity to spread the message and tell people what we are fighting for.”
Among the many demands are making is an amnesty of the people arrested last month during a campus siege. However, speaking in confidence, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader has dismissed the demands referring to the protesters as “reckless and selfish rioters” whose purpose is to sabotage the festive mood.
Are the protests likely to go to the New Year?
Yes. They could. The protesters seem so determined to push for their ”rights” with whatever means and in whatever season. While many people were caught unawares, they have expressed their disappointment with Beijing’s rule. The general feeling is that sometimes the police escalate the issue, especially when they become physical.
Meanwhile, it is not clear how long the demonstrations will last and whether or not the government will make peace with the demonstrators.