22 August 2019
Students dig in for a protracted struggle as authorities refuse to budge. Photo: EJ Insight
Students dig in for a protracted struggle as authorities refuse to budge. Photo: EJ Insight

Occupy protesters brace for cold weather

The young and brave protesters of the Occupy campaign have withstood police batons, tear gas and pepper spray, but will they be able to endure the cold weather as winter creeps into Hong Kong?

Temperatures in several areas across the territory have dropped to a chilly 21 degrees Celsius on Monday morning, and many protesters have to crawl inside their tents to stay warm.

An 82-year-old man surnamed Leung, who had joined the street protesters in Admiralty in late September and camped outside Civic Square more than a week ago, had to put on a hat and five layers of clothing to guard against the cold, Ming Pao Daily reported. He is a cancer survivor.

Meanwhile, a sophomore high school student has secured whatever supplies are available at the protest site’s supply center to wrap himself up for the night. He was able to borrow a blanket and a roll of aluminum foil.

“The northeast monsoon is bringing significant cooler weather to the coast of Guangdong,” the Hong Kong Observatory said. “The minimum temperature will be around 21 degrees in the urban areas in the coming few days.”

Meanwhile, a student protester has been diagnosed with pneumonia.

Health Minister Ko Wing-man said the young man maintains his respiratory functions, but his fever remains high as doctors have yet to get his pneumonia under control.

As the source of infection remains unknown, the occupier’s diagnosis has raised concerns over hygiene at the occupation sites in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. Garbage has piled up in some areas despite the availability of self-service waste recycling stations there.

It was reported the occupier’s friends are also showing signs of fever, although they are not staying in the protest sites.

As the political standoff drags on, Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing warned that the situation is very delicate, Digital Broadcasting Channel reported.

“Some say it’s unavoidable for the movement to end in bloodshed, while some say police are ready to clear out the crowds once severe clashes break out in Mong Kok. All these scenarios are the least we want to see,” Tsang said.

“There are only a few hundred people at the protest sites on weekdays, why don’t police just clear them out? But if we did that, the crowds would probably swell within 10 minutes,” he added.

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