Left Menu
Development News Edition

Hong Kong hills shine with protest lights in festival-themed rally

PTI | Hong Kong | Updated: 14-09-2019 00:54 IST | Created: 14-09-2019 00:52 IST
Hong Kong hills shine with protest lights in festival-themed rally
Image Credit: Flickr

Thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists used torches, lanterns and laser pens to light up some of the city's best-known hillsides on Friday night in an eye-catching protest alongside an annual festival. Friday evening marks the start of the mid-autumn festival, one of the most important dates in the Chinese calendar, and is traditionally a time for thanksgiving, spending time with family and praying for good fortune.

But as Hong Kong convulses from more than three months of political unrest, activists used the night as a way to keep their movement buoyant with no signs of protests abating. Throughout the evening, thousands of activists with torches on their heads hiked up hill trails leading to the top of Lion Rock, which overlooks the sprawling skyscrapers of the city's Kowloon district, one of the most densely populated places on earth.

They also gathered to form a long human chain on the Peak -- a popular tourist spot which offers picture-postcard views of Hong Kong and its dramatic waterfront. Both groups, whose lights were visible to each other across the harbor, chanted slogans and sang "Glory to Hong Kong", an anonymously penned protest anthem which has gone viral in recent days.

Other crowds gathered in parks across the city and along the harbour front, shining mobile phone lights, lasers and lanterns. "Today's autumn festival is a symbol of family and togetherness, so this is in the spirit of gathering the power of the Hong Kong people," a 24-year-old protester, who gave his surname Yip, told AFP as he sweated his way to the top of Lion Rock in the unforgiving sticky evening heat.

"We are going to fight with Hong Kong and fight for freedom," added another protester, who gave his surname Shum. On the Peak, protester Wan Luk said she skipped the traditional meal with her family.

"I think Hong Kong people need to unite their power, so I came out," she said. Hong Kong has been battered by nearly 100 days of protests, sparked by a now-abandoned plan to allow extraditions to the mainland.

After local leaders and Beijing took a hard line, the movement snowballed into wider calls for democracy, police accountability and a halt to eroding freedoms in what is the greatest challenge to Beijing's rule since the 1997 handover. Millions have taken part in huge, largely peaceful demonstrations.

But smaller groups of hardline protesters have fought increasingly violent battles with riot police and vandalised subway stations in scenes that have sent shockwaves through the once-stable financial hub. The city is now deeply polarised with fights frequently breaking out between different political camps.

Under a deal signed with Britain ahead of the city's 1997 handover to China, Hong Kong is allowed to keep its unique freedoms for 50 years. But democracy activists accuse Beijing of reneging on those promises by ramping up political control over the semi-autonomous territory.

City leader Carrie Lam made the surprise move last week to fully scrap the loathed extradition law -- but the gesture was dismissed by protesters as too little, too late. On Friday evening, in one of the protest movement's more surreal moments, small groups of demonstrators gathered on a housing estate where Lam was visiting, shouting "We want to eat mooncakes".

Residents told local media Lam had made a brief visit to a nearby elderly home to distribute mooncakes, a dense pastry handed out during the mid-autumn festival. Activists and analysts say the movement will only end when some of the other key demands are met such as an inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the nearly 1,400 people arrested and universal suffrage.

There is little sign of Beijing ceding to those demands or the protests abating. Plans by demonstrators to hold rallies on Saturday and Sunday have been rejected by the police.

But previous bans have simply been ignored by the masses and clashes with police have quickly followed. On Sunday, protesters had planned to march through the city while a separate, smaller demonstration was planned outside the British consulate in a bid to call on London to do more to protect the former colony from Beijing's tightening grip.

Student groups have also called for a week-long general strike starting on 1 October, when leaders in Beijing will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China.



South Africa's COVID-19 response: Surprising outcomes or just poor data management?

South Africa has been committed to improving its health information system and shows that a robust digital has considerable scope to improve healthcare for the entire population. But the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that significant ga...

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...


Latest News

Govt extends sugar export deadline by 3 months till December

The government has given additional three months time till December to millers to undertake mandatory export of their sugar quota allocated for this year, a senior Food Ministry official said on Monday. For the 2019-20 marketing year ending...

Ratnamani Metals bags order worth Rs 216 cr for supply of carbon steel pipes

Tubes and pipes manufacturer Ratnamani Metals and Tubes on Monday said it has received an order worth Rs 216 crore for supply of carbon steel pipes in the domestic marketThe company has received a domestic order of Rs 216 crore for the supp...

UN failures on coronavirus underscore the need for reforms

The coronavirus that has claimed nearly 1 million lives has underscored the failure of the United Nations to bring countries together to defeat it, prompting renewed calls to reform the world body so that it can meet challenges far differen...

Beijing using militarised outposts in South China Sea as platforms of coercion: US

China is using its militarised outposts in the South China Sea as platforms of coercion to assert control over waters it has no lawful claim over, the United States has said, demanding President Xi Jinping to honour his commitment that thes...

Give Feedback