Umbrella Demonstration in London

On September 28th 2014 Hong Kong police used tear gas and pepper spray against unarmed and peaceful young protestors who had gathered to oppose the stripping away of their right to choose their own leader. This disproportionately violent response sparked outrage amongst people around the world, while many leading politicians remained conspicuously silent.

On China’s national day, October 1st, umbrella-wielding protestors united in condemnation of the suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Hong Kong, gathering outside Chinese Embassies in cities around the globe like here London.

Brollies first came into play in the movement as a way for Hong Kongers to protect themselves against the gas and spray attacks, but quickly became adopted as a symbol for the pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’, like Taiwan’s ‘Sunflower Movement‘, is a people’s movement; rather than being organised by traditional political parties or lobbyists, both the Umbrella and Sunflower were organised by young people, rising up peacefully with banners and slogans, leveraging the Internet and social media to put on large and impressively well organised demonstrations organically and efficiently.

Hong Kongers may see the plight of oppressed regions of China such as Tibet and Xinjiang as a portent for their potential future woes. Pictured above Ahmed, from East Turkestan (the troubled Uighur region, called Xinjiang by the Chinese) was forced to flee his country and fears retribution upon himself and family members should he return, even for a visit.

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