They are, of course, a manifestation of our civil rights and essential to the fabric of Hong Kong society, but is anyone else growing weary of demonstrations?
Controversial though his comments may have been, perhaps Jackie Chan had a point when he was universally condemned for telling a Guangzhou newspaper in December that Hong Kong had become a “city of protest” and implied it was all a bit too much.
Official police figures reveal there were a staggering 5,656 public protests in 2010 – equivalent to more than 15 per day. So much for quantity, then, but with so many of them, the quality – or, more accurately, the significance – of demonstrations is surely diluted. And let’s be honest: many of them feel more like sedate Sunday outings than actual protests.
You often experience more political passion listening to the ramblings of a taxi driver complaining about his latest rent increase.
To up the ante, maybe Hong Kong’s rebels should take a leaf out of the French book and park some muddy tractors in a luxury shopping mall, or dump tons of rotten fish outside the government offices in Tamar. Or how about dressing up like superheroes in tights and scaling the Bank of China building? That would certainly make more of an impression on mainland visitors than their route to the nearest designer handbag store being obstructed by lots of neat, middle-class people.
Even the protesters’ banners have started to reflect an ironic sense of demo fatigue. One held aloft at this year’s July 1 march in Central read “Downwithsomething.com”.
The police are looking increasingly bored, too. Who can blame them?