Occupy Central

Occupy movement, 4 years on: Demosisto keeps hopes for Hong Kong democracy alive

Tour of the 2014 protest site outside government headquarters in Admiralty seeks to educate youngsters and prevent interest fading in the democracy movement, political party Demosisto says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2018, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 9:48pm

A Hong Kong political party formed of former student activists in the aftermath of the 2014 Occupy protests on Tuesday took youngsters back to the scene of the 79-day democracy sit-ins to mark four years since they began to paralyse the city.

Demosisto members said they hoped to prevent memories of the demonstrations fading by revisiting the Admiralty site on the eve of the anniversary of the street blockades swinging into action.

Outside government headquarters on Tim Mei Avenue, party chairman Ivan Lam Long-yin showed students subtle marks on walls left by protesters four years ago.

Pointing to what was once nicknamed “Lennon Wall” – now indistinguishable from any other – Lam told a dozen students about the Post-it notes bearing messages of support that had turned the structure into a riot of colour.

The tour was part of a series of activities to mark the anniversary, and was aimed at Hongkongers under 20 years of age to help pass on awareness of the protests to younger generations.

On September 26, 2014, student activists climbed fences surrounding government headquarters and began to occupy an area that became known as “Civic Square”.

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The incident kick-started the demonstrations and snowballed into a 79-day occupation of major roads in downtown Hong Kong through which protesters called for universal suffrage.

Lam said guards at the square were quick to react when his group approached on Tuesday.

“Maybe it is a bad memory for them,” he said.

He described how supplies for the protesters had been thrown into the square after the site was surrounded by police following the invasion.

Lam also took his students to Tamar Park – part of the complex that houses the city’s legislature and government offices. It was here where Occupy activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu was beaten by seven policemen in October 2014 in a case that ended with the officers jailed for assault and Tsang imprisoned for pouring foul-smelling liquid over 11.

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The students on Tuesday’s tour, who raised questions and took pictures, said the experience had helped them better understand the Occupy movement.

A Form Five pupil surnamed Chiu said she had played no part in the 2014 protests, but her parents had supported the demonstrators.

“I did not have a good understanding of the movement, as I was only in Form One,” Chiu said.

The tour had provided details not reported by the mass media, she said.

“It turns out that the government made a lot of petty moves, such as putting up flower pots and barriers at Civic Square.”

Another student, surnamed Lau, said the experience had offered a more personal view of the protests.

“I feel their experiences were rich in emotion,” Lau said of the demonstrators.

He would recommend the tour to others, he added.

“For as long as there is no universal suffrage in Hong Kong, the movement will still be important. I want to continue telling these stories,” Lau said.

Former Demosisto chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung told a separate event on Tuesday that activists must reach out to young people in the city to help keep memories of Occupy strong.

“The memory of the ‘umbrella movement’ has faded quickly,” Law said. “We need to ignite interest again.”