The temperature in Hong Kong on Tuesday, 1 October was very high, at 34 degrees Celsius not only owing to the humidity, but also the turbulence gripping the city. Tense escalated and everybody prepared the worst as predict to be riots across Hong Kong. Protesters in black clothes, face masks, elbow, knee and should pads, armed with hammers, bats, rods and Molotov cocktails, or petrol bombs turned the city into a hellish inferno.
Protesters assembled in 6 groups spread across Hong Kong. From 11 AM, many activists gathered at one of their meeting points, the Southorn Park in Wan Chai area. They sat in the basketball/tennis stadium. Around 1 PM they all rose from their seats to join the other groups who were passing by and headed towards the Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Central areas. This pack walked together while shouting slogans.
Past a restaurant that remained open, the protesters became suspicious and looked out of the glass window where several people were seen eating. Restaurant owners had anticipated this by sticking paper to the window stating that they support the Pro-democracy movement. It is similar to what happened in Jakarta during the May 1998 riots when people put paper in their shops or houses where protesters (or looters in Indonesian cases) passed by. Protesters can swiftly become rioters if they sense some individual is not in support of their cause, whether it be a single business, person, or even taxi.
Meanwhile, the baggage store next door to the restaurant decided to profit from the unrest, selling umbrellas with those demonstrators who had forgotten theirs at home, swiftly buying up black ones.
The demonstrators’ long march also crossed the Wan Chai bridge where police monitored the situation and were ready to disburse the demonstrators. As they continued walking, they turned around to mock and shout at the police as they did during the past 17 weeks of the protest.
At another overpass, where sympathizers and supporters stood, the gestures were different. They waved with five fingers raised, symbolizing the Five Demands Not One Less.
Michael, one of the demonstrators, said that the demonstration always took place peacefully in the afternoon. But when the evening began the tension increased especially as they saw the police coming, and that the situation often deteriorated into riots and chaos. The young man who came with his girlfriend admitted that he was happy to be able to participate in the pro-democracy movement.
However, he claimed to be returning home after resting for a while in Hong Kong Park because he had to work tomorrow. Another demonstrator who was resting said that he did not understand in detail what the demonstration agenda was for today. He only said that he would follow the crowd and monitor its movements from his colleagues through the Telegram application.
The high temperature of Hong Kong along with increasingly intense demonstrations which are expected to become riots makes Hong Kong really hot!
Photos: Dessy Savitri