A sky-high glimpse into the heart of the city

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 July, 2004, 12:00am

From the air, the stream of white-clad humanity snaking its way through the urban canyons offered a rare glimpse into the heart of Hong Kong.

Hundreds of thousands of people seemed to merge as one through a shimmering haze of stifling heat and humidity.

At 5pm, thousands of protesters were still filing up to the tail of the march from the rallying point in Victoria Park.

Down at the finishing point in the heart of Central, the head of the serpent-like mass of humanity appeared to billow and swell before disappearing into the crevasses of the city and its subways.

It was 2.3 degrees hotter than during last year's march. The air pollution index also hovered around a 'high' level of 86 in Causeway Bay and to a 'very high' level of 114 in Central, meaning people with heart or respiratory illnesses should stay indoors.

On a day which marked the seventh anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China from British colonial rule, the image of so many people striding towards a common goal was a symbolic one.

Along the entire length of Hennessy Road the protesters could be seen waving banners, fists and water bottles.

And, while the streets may have echoed to the chants of defiant protest, from a bird's-eye view, there was something wholesome in the collective image of the procession.

Hovering over the crowd in a helicopter, the scene was reminiscent of the unprecedented march last year when half a million took to the streets to oppose the anti-subversion law.

But, through the haze of a summer's day, it was hard to tell yesterday whether the fog of uncertain fate surrounding Hong Kong's political destiny was beginning to lift or if it had merely just settled on the horizon.