These Insane Photos Show What the Hell Is Happening in Hong Kong
Teargas and pepper spray aren’t silencing protesters’ calls for greater autonomy. What’s next?
Hong Kong—usually an orderly finance haven—erupted over the weekend as police used teargas and pepper spray to break up a three-day student sit-in that occupied the central business district. Thousands of protesters have deployed umbrellas to protect themselves from the chemical attack—some people are dubbing it the Umbrella Revolution—and have even picked up the hands-up “don’t shoot” gesture from protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
The protests were the culmination of a campaign organized last year by the student group “Occupy Central,” calling for free elections and more autonomy for Hong Kong, which is controlled by the Communist Party in Beijing.
At issue are assurances China made to Hong Kong when it took the reins back from Britain in 1997. Under the so-called “one country, two systems” deal, Hong Kong was allowed to keep its common-law system and enjoy greater rights than those on the mainland (where news of the protests has been aggressively censored). By 2017, Hong Kong residents hoped they would be able to elect their own chief executive—the top representative of their so-called Special Administrative Region. But now, China appears to be reneging on the spirit of its deal. President Xi Jinping has firmly rejected open nominations for candidates, and says they will continue to be vetted by a central committee in Beijing.
The government’s crackdown has been unsuccessful in dispersing the protesters, who are still out on the streets—and solidarity marches are taking place in citiesaround the world, including Ferguson. Here’s a wrap-up of photos from the weekend.