‘An eye for an eye’: Sea of black at Hong Kong airport protest

 

 

The protesters streamed into Hong Kong airport and quickly transformed the arrivals hall at one of the world’s busiest transport hubs into a sea of black.

Instead of being met by smiling relatives and friends, passengers arriving at the airport were greeted by thousands of pro-democracy activists chanting “fight with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!”

Most were dressed in the movement’s trademark black clothing, some sporting construction hard hats or gas masks.

And many added a new accessory on Monday: eyepatches or bandages to pay tribute to a woman who suffered a serious face injury at a protest on Sunday night.

The woman, who has not been identified, was reportedly hit by a beanbag round fired by police, and rumours circulated that she lost her vision.


Images of blood pouring from her face as she lay on a pavement quickly went viral and featured in posters calling for demonstrations under the banner: “an eye for an eye”.

“HK police are killing us,” read a sign held by one protester. “Hong Kong is no longer safe,” said another.

And on walls, pillars and barriers in the airport, protesters sprayed painted red graffiti in English and Chinese reading “an eye for an eye”.

“Hong Kong police are out of their minds, exceeding the level of force in their guidelines,” said a 22-year-old protester who gave only his surname, Law.

“Hong Kong people must rise up and not be afraid.”

Some protesters said the airport had been chosen as a venue for the demonstration because they believed police would not fire tear gas surrounded by international visitors.

“The police wouldn’t act unreasonably because if people from other countries see how police can come in and hit people, that would be serious,” said Kelvin Liu, a 19-year-old student at the protest.

‘Sorry for the inconvenience’

Protesters had already staged a three-day sit-in from Friday at the airport, handing out leaflets about their movement to arriving passengers.

But while several thousand people joined those rallies, the scene on Monday was vastly different, with people so tightly packed that it took 15 minutes to move through the crowd from the upper floor to the ground floor in the arrivals hall.

In the early afternoon, shops in the hall began to shut as the protest swelled, but well-organised volunteers moved through the crowd distributing water and food to the mostly young protesters.

Passengers looked confused as they exited wheeling their luggage, with some moving swiftly past the outstretched hands offering information about the pro-democracy movement.

But others stopped to look at the posters and artwork hung around the hall and talk with the protesters.

“I think they have every right to do what they are doing,” said Rhiannon Coulton, 33, from Australia after she landed at the airport.

“I don’t know if this will do any good for them, we will have to wait and see.”

Coulton arrived in Hong Kong airport on one of the last planes to land on Monday after authorities announced all remaining flights in and out would be cancelled.

As protesters sang and chanted, an occasional muffled announcement could be heard from the loudspeakers above: “All flights have been cancelled, please leave as soon as possible.”

Flight boards showed row after row of flights with their status reading “cancelled”.

Underneath one protester had attached a sign: “Sorry for the inconvenience… But we’re fighting for survival!”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Elaine Yu
Guest Author

Related stories

‘Killing the chicken to scare the monkey’: what Jimmy Lai’s arrest means for Hong Kong’s independent media

Although self-censorship has long been a concern, Hong Kong has traditionally enjoyed a vibrant free press

The ethics of Covid-19 status disclosure: To tell or not to tell?

The trick is to find the balance between people’s right to privacy and the need for contact tracing to limit the spread of the disease

Pandas mate in lockdown privacy

Stuck at home with no visitors and not much else to do, a pair of pandas in Hong Kong finally decided to give mating a go after a decade of dodging the issue

Covid-19: A case for why we all should wear homemade face masks

Countries that have mandated mask-wearing for people going out in public have shown a decrease in the rate of Covid-19 infections

South Africa’s travel ban commences

The travel restrictions will allow South Africa to turn back passengers arriving from areas affected by Covid-19 that are deemed high risk

Indonesia seizes half-a-million masks amid coronavirus panic buying

Authorities were questioning two people after a raid at a warehouse in satellite city Tangerang, where nearly 600 000 surgical masks were found
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Why no vaccine at all is better than a botched...

As Covid vaccines near the manufacturing stage, a look at two polio vaccines provides valuable historical insights

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators

JJ Rawlings left an indelible mark on Ghana’s history

The air force pilot and former president used extreme measures, including a coup, enforced ‘discipline’ through executions, ‘disappearances’ and floggings, but reintroduced democracy

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…