(Warning: thread ahead)

A salute to the people of Wan Chai (& by extension, all of #HK)

Of all the attacks by police I’ve experienced in nearly 4mo of protest, the one in Wan Chai yesterday (10/1) was the most intense; this, because of the tactics the police adopted.
The situation was a replay of many similar scenes before, with an important difference. Originally, when police wished to clear protesters from Admiralty, they would push them down Queensway past police HQ with teargas barrages…
…then after that, they would slowly & deliberately continue to push them down Hennessy Rd toward Causeway Bay, in the hope that doing so would eventually cause most to disperse. But they saw this method caused an insufficient number of protesters to disperse.
So then they began surrounding protesters in CWB and making arrests. This resulted in many brutal & violent instance of police abuse (beatings during & after arrest, live shooting incidents) & protesters adapted to avoid the police dragnet.
So yesterday, the police did something new: after pushing protesters back past police HQ, they conducted a kind of blitzkrieg attack, very rapidly attacking protesters from different directions with massive teargas barrages and charging riot police.
I happened to be on Queen’s Rd E. Police were charging us from the west, shooting teargas. As we moved eastward, other protesters ran out of sidestreets from the north, pursued by police raining teargas down on them.
Then, up ahead, another line of riot police appeared. We were surrounded on 3 sides by police & on the 4th, to the south, there was only the mountain. We were trapped & being hit w teargas from two directions.
Ever since 6/12, when police trapped protesters & attacked them w teargas tho they had nowhere to disperse, human rights orgs & experts have repeatedly said teargas shouldn't be used like that: teargas is to make people disperse. & yet there were police doing it again yesterday.
In the nearly 4mo of protests, I’ve been hit by teargas many times but never so intensely as yesterday. I couldn’t see, my skin felt as if it was burning, & as I ran, it felt as if my chest was seizing up. ‘This must be what it’s like to have a heart attack,’ I thought.
As hundreds of protesters tried to squeeze down a narrow passageway (reminding of MTR passengers getting off a full train & crowding around the escalator), I ran in the opposite direction & managed to find a gap in police lines that lead to a sidestreet with no cops on it.
As I ran down that street, an amazing thing happened (which I'd seen before elsewhere). I passed restaurants (most shops were closed) jampacked with protesters seeking shelter, & then the doorways of apartment buildings opened & residents urged fleeing protesters to enter.
I entered one. The resident holding the door said, Keep going up until you reach the roof. It was a decrepit walk-up. On my way up, I passed three apartments with doors open packed full of dozens of protesters. When I got to the roof, there were already about 50 protesters there.
I peered over the edge of the roof and at both ends of the street I could see dozens of riot police but in between, no protesters. The police were looking around in astonishment: 'Where did they all go?' Indeed, we’d disappeared into thin air thanks to the residents of Wan Chai.
A police helicopter hovered above us. We went back into the building’s stairwell to escape detection. After about an hour, it became clear that most police had moved toward Causeway Bay, where there were still protesters on the street.
We came out of the building and onto the street. As soon as we emerged, people came up to us and told us which streets to take to avoid police—they’d been scouting. Protesters emerged out of other buildings as well, up & down the street.
So you see, even those #HK people not protesting on the streets are protesting, all contributing in their own way. The majority of the city is united against the regime. I’ve experienced the kindness & aid of strangers countless times in recent weeks.
This kind of resistance- it’s a feeling of solidarity between people. HK people are famously unexpressive. We don’t talk much or effuse. But we recognize something in each other, a common purpose, & we’re united.
It'll take more force than what the #CCP’s so far brought to bear, thru its proxies, the #HK govt & police, to put us down. Tho this is a difficult, trying period for HK people, there is something very precious about the feeling among us atm. It feels like the birth of a nation.
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