Around 1,000 people rallied outside Hong Kong government headquarters to commemorate the anniversary of 79-day Occupy Central Movement in 2014 on Monday. Several Occupy activists, who were newly-elected as LegCo members, spoke at the gathering.
Participants including people from more than 50 pro-democracy groups stood in silence with yellow umbrellas at the same moment when two years ago the police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the protesters.
“Hong Kong people never forget what brought them to Admiralty to fight for real universal suffrage,” said Tai Yiu-ting, who launched the Occupy campaign.
“I am here to shout for our city and make efforts for future generations,” a participant in his 40s said, tying a yellow ribbon around the wrist.
A 14-year-old student with a yellow paper umbrella in hand, who also participated in the 2014 protest, said she came to the gathering hoping to encourage voters to speak out against injustice in Hong Kong.
This year’s LegCo election recorded the biggest turnout since 1991. Six localists were elected and the pan-democracy camps got enough seats for veto power.
Tai owed the election results to the massive protest two years ago that raised citizens’ consciousness to participate in politics.
“After two years, I cannot define the rally as meaningful. Nothing will change if the political divide between Hong Kong and Beijing could not be bridged,” said government officer Wayne Chan.
Asked about the previous filibustering in LegCo, the new lawmakers Lau Siu-lai advocated to “collect forces of divergent politics through dialogues and negotiation”.
The six-hour saw a strong presence from young people who are meeting the age limit to make choices for their own city, according to the organizers.
The 400-square-meter area was covered with banners and publicizing booths. Police were on standby from the early morning and set up railings for security and press along the overpasses connecting the square.
“The rally is supposed to go in peace. But we still cannot loosen vigilance with such a mass event,” a media liaison officer said.
Occupy Central was initiated to protest against the negative results in Hong Kong’s electoral reform, and resulted in blockade and violent conflicts in several important commercial centers. The protests ended with several activists being arrested. The central government believed the movement was supported by oversea forces to drive
into a color revolution.