this is like pussy riot and femen: if you didn’t know the CIA and MI6 were behind it, you might support it

Hong Kong activists regroup to force police retreat in protest hotspot
Donny Kwok, Yimou Lee, Reuters, Oct 17 2014 16:51m EDT

Protesters are pepper sprayed by riot police during a confrontation at Mongkok shopping district in Hong KongMongkok, Oct 17 2014. Photo: Bobby Yip, Reuters

HONG KONG – Hong Kong pro-democracy activists recaptured parts of a core protest zone early on Saturday, defying riot police who had tried to disperse them with pepper spray and baton charges. About a thousand protesters, some wearing protective goggles and helmets, helped to build fresh barricades from wooden fencing and other materials in the gritty, densely populated Mong Kok district. Some chanted “black police” after the police struck demonstrators’ umbrellas with their small metal batons. The area has become a flashpoint for ugly street brawls between students and mobs, including triads, or local gangsters, intent on breaking up the prolonged protests that pose one of the biggest political challenges for China since the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing in 1989. Demonstrators chanting “open the road” tried late on Friday to break through multiple police lines, using umbrellas as a shield from pepper spray at a major traffic intersection. In the melee, police used batons and scuffled violently with activists, but were eventually forced into a partial retreat, less than 24 hours after re-opening most of the area to traffic. “Occupy Mong Kok!” a jubilant sea of several thousand people chanted afterwards. “We want real universal suffrage!” Twenty-six people were arrested and 15 officers were injured, the government said in a statement. Fish Tong, a 20-year-old student in the crowd, said:

The police have no right to throw us out. We are just here to take back what is supposed to belong to us. (Just like in Ferguson – RB)

The renewed clashes came after Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Leung Chun-ying offered talks to student leaders next week in an attempt to defuse weeks of protests that have paralyzed parts of the city and grabbed global headlines amid scenes of violent clashes and tear gas rising between some of the world’s most valuable office buildings. The protesters are demanding free elections for their leader in 2017, but China insists on screening candidates first and Leung reiterated that the government would not compromise. “We will stay and fight till the end,” Joshua Wong, a bookish 18-year-old whose fiery speeches have helped drive the protests, told the seething crowds late on Friday while standing atop a subway station exit. Before dawn on Friday, hundreds of police had staged their biggest raid yet on a pro-democracy protest camp, forcing out student-led activists who had held the traffic intersection in one of their main protest zones for more than three weeks. The raid was a gamble for the 28,000-strong police force who have come under criticism for aggressive clearance operations with their tear gas and baton charges and for the beating of a handcuffed protester on Wednesday. What initially seemed to be a smooth clearance operation has now sparked a bigger backlash.

The escalation in the confrontation illustrates the dilemma faced by police in striking a balance between law enforcement and not inciting the protesters who have been out for three weeks in three core shopping and government districts. The protesters, led by students, have been demanding China’s Communist Party rulers live up to constitutional promises to grant full democracy to the former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997. In August, Beijing offered Hong Kong people the chance to vote for their own leader in 2017, but said only two to three candidates could run after getting backing from a 1,200-person “nominating committee” stacked with Beijing loyalists. The protesters decry this as “fake” democracy and say they won’t leave the streets unless Beijing allows open nominations. Besides Mong Kok, about 1,000 protesters remained camped out on Hong Kong Island in a sea of tents on an eight-lane highway beneath skyscrapers close to government headquarters. Despite Leung’s offer of talks next week, few expect any resolution without more concrete concessions from authorities. China rules Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” formula that gives the city wide-ranging autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, with universal suffrage stated as the “ultimate aim.”

Hong Kong police arrest 26 amid street clashes
Sylvia Hui, Kelvin Chan, AP, Oct 17 2014

e43b6acada3dca28620f6a7067005f8aMong Kok, late Friday, Oct 17 2014. Photo:Kin Cheung/AP

HONG KONG — Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city’s streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. Police and activists engaged in running clashes in Mong Kok’s dense grid of streets, scuffling for hours. Several protesters were seen knocked to the ground, and dozens were carried or taken away by police. The government said some 9,000 people gathered at the scene, repeatedly charging police lines in an attempt to retake roads. Authorities said police arrested 26 people. Protesters are pressing for a greater say in choosing the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s leader in an inaugural direct election, promised for 2017. Students and activists oppose Beijing’s ruling that a committee stacked with pro-Beijing elites should screen candidates in the election. That effectively means that Beijing can vet candidates before they go to a public vote. One protester was seen bleeding from his forehead as he was carried to a police van, moments after he was forced to the ground by officers. In scenes repeated throughout the evening, officers used batons to beat back umbrellas used by the crowd of young protesters to defend themselves from pepper spray. Tommy Lee, a 45-year-old technology worker who was outraged at seeing police handcuff four protesters who appeared to be high school students, said:

The police have lost control. They are beating up protesters like we’re animals. We are angry. The students are our future.

Also detained was Bangkok-based Getty photojournalist Paula Bronstein, who was hauled away by police for standing on the hood of a Mercedes-Benz amid the melee. Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents Club issued a statement demanding her immediate release, saying that police have threatened and intimidated other journalists covering the protests. The chaotic scenes unfolded hours after police had moved in to clear tents, canopies and barricades at Mong Kok, a smaller protest zone across Victoria Harbor from the main occupied area in the heart of the financial district. Mong Kok’s protest zone had been home to a rowdier, more radical crowd less willing to follow student leaders, making it the most volatile of the three areas occupied since Sep 28 by Hong Kong democracy protesters. The dawn operation, the third in recent days by police to retake streets from protesters, came after Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sought to defuse the bitter standoff with the protesters on Thursday by reviving an offer of talks over democratic reforms in the city. However, Leung warned that police wouldn’t refrain from clearing protest sites while holding talks. The latest clashes were likely to make it harder to resolve the crisis with protesters, who were already angered by a video of a group of officers kicking a handcuffed activist.

In Hong Kong, No Endgame for Chaotic Protests
Sylvia Hui, Kelvin Chan, AP, Oct 17 2014 22:30 ET

WireAP_3eebab9d641442778532b5bcd2d106a1_16x9_992Banner reading: “bad police”, Mong Kok, Oct. 17, 2014 Photo: Wally Santana/AP

HONG KONG — Three weeks ago, students at a rally stormed a fenced-off courtyard outside Hong Kong’s government headquarters, triggering unprecedented mass protests for greater democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Since then, the movement has spiraled into a volatile and dangerous crisis with no clear endgame. Support for protesters is fast waning, as days of violent clashes between activists, their opponents and police overshadow the movement. Vast differences over political reforms divide the students and the government. Key thoroughfares remain closed. Some protesters are digging in for the long haul at the main occupation zone, while others fight to retake ground lost to police. Against this backdrop, a government offer to negotiate with students appears highly unlikely to resolve the largest uprising since the former British colony returned to Chinese control 17 years ago. Willy Lam, a China expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said:

The endgame is nowhere in sight. Short of using a high degree of force, which might exacerbate dissatisfaction among the public, it looks like neither Beijing nor the Hong Kong government has what it takes to defuse the crisis.

Here are three key questions as the democracy protests continue to unfold:

Q: What is the Hong Kong government’s strategy?

A: Hong Kong authorities have been inconsistent both in handling the students’ call for political reform and in tactics to clear the streets. The city’s highly unpopular leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, known as CY, angered protesters when he abruptly called off scheduled talks last week, saying a constructive outcome was unlikely. He then revived the proposal for talks a week later, amid soaring tensions and public anger over a video showing police beating a handcuffed protester. Even if the talks materialize, chances that they could resolve the deadlock quickly are slim. Leung has repeatedly said that Beijing will not give in to the students’ demand to open up nominations for the city’s inaugural direct election in 2017, and he has little wiggle room to offer compromises to the students. Lam said:

At this stage Beijing is running the show. Beijing is dictating ways and means that it hopes the Hong Kong government will take to defuse the crisis. With Beijing appearing to want to avoid both bloodshed and a compromise with the student leaders, we have the makings of a stalemate.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s police appear entirely unprepared as they face a level of civil unrest not seen in the territory for decades. A heavy-handed strategy of unleashing tear gas to disperse protesters on Sept. 28 and detaining student leaders backfired, drawing more supporters to the streets. Police then veered toward a softer approach, leaving the protest zones alone. This week they carried out surprise pre-dawn operations to retake parts of the streets, including clearing out the second-biggest encampment, in blue-collar Mong Kok, but those actions appear to have triggered a backlash from angry protesters. Hundreds returned to Mong Kok on Friday, leaving the area convulsed in chaos for hours as police tried to hold back the crowds. The volatility and Leung’s ineffective leadership are putting huge pressure on police to maintain order, said Steve Vickers, former head of intelligence with the colonial-era Royal Hong Kong Police Force who now runs his own risk consultancy. He said:

The absence of any dialogue between the government and the public puts the police in a very exposed position. The inability of the Hong Kong government to directly make decisions is exacerbating the situation. What I’m saying is CY’s not fully in charge.

Q: Where does the protest movement stand now?

A: From the start, a key feature of the protests has been their amorphous and organic nature. Three groups at the heart of the movement have rallied the crowds and led efforts to negotiate protesters’ demands with the government, but there is no central leadership. Many taking part say the groups, headed by students and a law professor, do not represent them. That spontaneity appealed to many supporters, but it’s become clear that the movement is unraveling at the edges and losing its unity of purpose. As the standoff drags on, factions of more radical protesters are breaking off from the peaceful sit-ins at the main protest zone. For several nights in a row, large, rowdy crowds have stepped up their tactics to gain control of streets, scuffling with riot police. Others responded to calls on social media for flash mobs and what police condemned as “guerrilla tactics,” sporadically rushing into traffic to dump barriers in the road before running away. Most protesters say they want the movement to stay peaceful, and some are frustrated by the divisions among activists. The video of police officers kicking a handcuffed protester, and images of police dragging activists away and aiming pepper spray at protesters’ faces, have ignited even more volatility. On Thursday, student leaders urged protesters not to let anger at police distract from the movement’s core purpose, or drive more ugly scenes that would spoil the movement’s public image. Joshua Wong, an 18-year-old student leader, told protesters:

We came here to protest, not to let out our emotions.

Q: What are the likely outcomes?

A: The Hong Kong government now faces myriad scenarios, none of them particularly palatable. Both sides could try to move forward on talks based on minor compromises. Officials hinted Thursday that there could be room for maneuvering over how a committee that nominates Hong Kong’s leader is picked, and that changes to elections could take place after 2017. Leung said:

If we don’t do it in 2017, we could try to do it in 2022.

The students could also be placated by Leung’s resignation, though it’s unlikely that Pres Xi would allow that, given his hard-line stance on dissent in China’s other outlying regions, such as Tibet. In the shorter term, authorities could continue trying to wait the students out while police clear more protest zones in surprise raids. The strategy could be used to shut down the third and smallest site, in the Causeway Bay shopping district, where as few as 30 protesters were occupying about 100 m of road on Friday morning. But chances of success are less certain at the main site in Admiralty, a sprawling zone filled with tents, banners and protest art. Vickers said the single biggest risk in the days ahead is the escalation of clashes between the protesters and their opponents, including triads, or criminal gangs who are widely suspected (by idiots) of being paid by shadowy pro-Beijing groups to stir up trouble. He said:

Police are going to be caught between the two groups, and that is not a nice place to be.

The above is an encyphered way of saying that the western colour revolution strategists are paying the gangs to attack both police and students, while paying the ‘students’ to attack both police and gangs. The aim of the game is ungovernability, not student ‘victory’, whatever that might mean – RB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.