The Occupy protests, which are now into their eighth week, have caused deep divisions in Hong Kong society, with supporters and opponents refusing to see eye to eye on the street blockades. The frictions have affected family ties, friendships and work relationships in some cases, and are even said to have led to a rise in the number of people seeking emotional counseling.
According to a hotline report released by the Caritas Family Crisis Support Center, the center received 289 phone calls since Sept. 28 from people seeking counseling for emotional distress. Of the total, opponents of the civil disobedience movement accounted for 41.4 percent, while supporters took up 24.3 percent, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
Opponents expressed anger over the street blockades which caused disruptions to their daily lives.
Paulina Kwok Chi Ying, Supervisor of the center, was quoted as saying that around 44 percent of the callers asked for help because the movement affected their daily life or caused economic losses.
She mentioned two extreme cases where the callers said they were contemplating physical attacks on Occupy demonstrators. The callers dropped the idea after receiving psychological counseling from the support center, Kwok said.
Meanwhile, the movement also caused serious family frictions, as most parents were against the street occupation while their children were keen on participating in it. Some 29 percent of the callers had indicated such problem.
Kwok said the fallout of the Occupy movement is more complicated than, say, the aftermath of natural disasters. She hopes tensions will ease in the society and that the movement will not cause long-term damage to personal relationships and social life.
“Life must move on when the movement is over,” she was quoted as saying.
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