Mass Mobilization Shakes Hong Kong

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1870 ... August 8, 2019
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Mass Mobilization Shakes Hong Kong

Colin Sparks

Hong Kong is in the middle of its biggest strike since 1967. Businesses have shut down. Some bus drivers have been on strike. Tube lines have stopped running during the morning rush hour. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled. Thousands of mostly young demonstrators have occupied roads and shopping malls across the city. At 6pm six police stations were under siege, with demonstrators attempting to set one of them on fire, and police had fired teargas in attempts to disperse demonstrators occupying five major roads in different parts of the city.

The strike comes after three days of confrontations between young people and the police and it caps nine weeks of a popular insurgency. Week after week there have been mass demonstrations. The largest demonstration involved an estimated two million people, or more than one in four of the population. Others have been smaller but even so have seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets. Increasingly, demonstrations have turned into long and bitter battles with the... police, who have employed ever more brutal methods to try to break up the protesters -- tear gas, rubber bullets, baton charges, and indiscriminate beatings.

For their part, the demonstrators have displayed remarkable unity and great courage. When the most militant demonstrators fought back against the police, surrounded police stations, occupied the local "parliament" building, and besieged the Hong Kong offices of the Beijing government, the authorities tried the familiar tactic of denouncing "violence" in an effort to isolate them from the masses. Despite continued propaganda about law and order, this effort has spectacularly failed. Support for the demonstrators remains strong even though they sometimes inconvenience others. One construction worker stuck in a traffic jam on the way home on the strike day told reporters that "You see here, no one is honking their horn. Everybody is fine with this wildcat protest as we all oppose the extradition bill and this rotten government." In other cases, local residents affected by the indiscriminate use of tear-gas have joined demonstrators in attacking the police.

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