With surgical masks and goggles balanced on their faces, Hong Kongers Jay and Elise Lee take a moment to rest in an underpass near the city’s Legislative Council, its parliamentary equivalent.
Again, as in 2014, today’s protesters were primarily youths, clad in black t-shirts and chanting “Cit Wui!” (“Withdraw!”). Drawing on their experience from the Umbrella Movement, protesters quickly equipped themselves with protective gear – face masks, goggles, hard-hats – in anticipation of police batons, capsicum spray, or even tear gas and rubber bullets. Police formed three-deep defensive lines equipped with riot shields, truncheons and guns. By mid-morning, protester supply stations – well-stocked with water, foodstuffs, first-aid supplies and other necessities – were already springing up.
“With Hong Kong being a financial city and society very polarized at the moment, we don’t expect a complete or near complete participation from all schools and companies. But every little bit helps,” said Jason Y. Ng, convener of the Progressive Lawyers Group.