23 October 2016
Yellow umbrellas spring up in Admiralty as demonstrators mark the second anniversary of the 2014 sit-in protests. Photo: Reuters
Yellow umbrellas spring up in Admiralty as demonstrators mark the second anniversary of the 2014 sit-in protests. Photo: Reuters

Hundreds mark second anniversary of democracy protests

Yellow umbrellas and yellow ribbons once again mushroomed in Admiralty on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the 2014 pro-democracy protests that gripped Hong Kong and captivated the world.

About 1,000 people turned out at the peak of a rally organized by a citizens group, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Among the participants were Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming, co-organizers of the Occupy Central movement that inspired the mass action.

About 100 policeman were on hand to maintain order including a handful on a pedestrian walkway leading up to ground zero of the sit-in that came to be known as Umbrella Movement. 

At 5:58 p.m. the rallyists stood in silence to mark the first of 87 tear gas canisters fired at the protesters.

The move triggered mass outpouring of support for the protesters from ordinary citizens, turning the mass movement into a crippling street occupation of key districts that would last 79 days during which talks between protest leaders and the government collapsed.

The end of the occupation was followed by mass arrests of protest leaders and other participants who have since been released.

Tai said the leaders of the movement suffered a “slump” but recovered, citing the recent Legislative Council elections in which candidates from parties spun off from the movement won.

Among them are former student leader Nathan Law and a clutch of localists and pro-independence advocates. 

Tai said the two years that have passed since the Occupy Central movement were not enough to achieve their aim of genuine democracy for Hong Kong, adding it takes decades for such efforts to bear fruit.

Law said his Demosistō party will continue to cooperate with localists and groups supporting Hong Kong self-determination 

Joshua Wong, secretary general of Demosistō and convenor of the defunct student activist group Scholarism that spearheaded the movement, told the crowd that civil awakening was the greatest achievement of the movement and that there is no reason to give up.

Retired cardinal Joseph Zen criticized Beijing for distorting “one country, two systems” and the government for trying to convict Law and Wong for pre-Occupy actions stemming from an attempt to reclaim a public square for protesters.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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