There were at least 39 distinct demonstrations in #HK from 10/4-7; 800,650 participated (but most of the demos have no crowd counts).
The total number of #HK demonstrators since protests began is now 10,256,316 in a total of 540 protests.
The biggest demonstrations over the long weekend were the 2 marches on Sunday, on #HK Island (650,000) & Kowloon (150,000). These turnouts are extraordinarily large considering they were unauthorized & much of the MTR network was closed.
Together, w 800,000, they are the 4th biggest protest so far after 2mil on 6/12, 1.7mil on 8/18 & 1.03mil on 6/9. That fact's been lost in the #CCP, #HK govt & media fixation on the 'violence' associated with them. In fact, the vast majority of Sunday's protesters were nonviolent
The fact that most protesters are nonviolent needs to be repeatedly stressed in light of much coverage that almost erases them from the narrative. And these days, nonviolent protesters are 'doubly illegal': for participating in 'unlawful assemblies' & for wearing masks.
On Sunday,I was at the front of the march on HK Island & was initially somewhat disappointed at the turnout. Looking back,I think it's because lots of people were waiting to see whether there'd be a police crackdown right from the start & when they saw there wasn't, they came out
We marched quickly (another aspect of not having an organizer) to Central. Then many turned around & marched to #HK govt HQ & continued marching past it back towards CWB. While there was shouting at the police, no one stopped to confront them.
When we entered Wan Chai, I cut over from Gloucester Rd to Hennessy, where the main march was, & it was only then I realized how exceptionally large it was: 2.5hrs after the front of the march had left the starting point, there were still hundreds of thousands coming.
At the time, I thought the turnout was going to top a million, & it might have, but then, almost inevitably, the police attacked. I heard it was due to a protester provocation at #HK govt HQ, but it must have been small & localized, as when I walked past, so did everyone else.
In other words, there was no huge gathering of crowds intent on confronting police or taking aggressive action at HK govt HQ. As so often in these protests, police used the fact that a small number were confronting them to attack everyone indiscriminately.
In this case, they believed themselves especially justified in doing so since the protest was 'unauthorized'. The march stopped when the police came out onto Queensway, the main march route, to block it. I went to the front to see what was happening.
I thought, The police surely aren't going to attack now with so many people on the streets. I was wrong. The police action was rapid, more rapid than usual, in fact, so rapid that protesters couldn't retreat fast enough.
Protesters were trying to move away from police lines, but the police advance was so rapid & the protesters so many that we couldn't move fast enough. Charging very fast, police caught up with us at about Fleming Rd.
I was in the very front & couldn't move away because there was literally a wall of protesters, all trying to move away from police. Police pounced on the protesters they could snatch. I was slammed to the ground by the shield of a policeman charging right into me.
He then lunged for me but tripped over another protester on the ground in front of me. This gave me just enough time to get out of the way, but the only direction one could move was behind police lines. I found a semi-safe hiding place from which I viewed fellow protesters...
...being arrested. In all cases, they were first pummeled by baton blows until they fell to the ground. Then police pounced on them, at least three per protester, and smothered them. I counted six protesters, all six were injured by the police attacks.
Police then proceeded to shout at & threaten journalists covering their actions. I was afraid I was going to be discovered, so made myself as inconspicuous as possible in my hiding place. It was then police realized they were surrounded, with protesters coming from behind.
This made them turn their attention in that direction where they fired more teargas, & I was able to duck down an alleyway where I remained hidden until the police eventually advanced toward Causeway Bay.
I was still surrounded but was able after some time to eventually find a way across police lines. The point of the story is that this was a largely nonviolent march police attacked. Yes, once police started attacking, frontline protesters stepped to the fore.
They threw petrol bombs to slow the police charge, thus presumably justifying the police use of force. But still, it was clear the police purpose was to clear us all from the street, not to deal with the quite localized violence.
When police disappeared from the streets several hours later, I could finally move freely & made my way back down Hennessy. Virtually every Chinese state-owned bank branch on the road was smashed & graffitied.
Yes, the protester destruction of govt, MTR, Chinese state-owned business & pro-CCP business property is part of the story; yes, protesters fighting with police is part of the story. But only part of the story, not the whole story.
The whole story is the whole city is in revolt, each in her/his own way. The very first protest after the mask ban was declared was in Central. In fact, it began even before the announcement. And it was initially made up of mostly office workers... workers who had never been known to protest during office hours so close to their places of employment, not even earlier in these protests. That was extraordinary & just one of many signs of how far the rebellion has spread.
The other sign to emphasize (& this has been noted in the media because of the 'violence' in those places) is the sheer geographical extent of the protests. If you map the at least 39 protests that have taken place since Friday, they cover virtually the whole city.
This is partly because MTR closures & police crackdowns (for example, roadblocks for cars, & stopping & searching buses) have made it much more difficult to move around the city. But it's also because people are spontaneously standing up in the neighborhoods where they live.
& the lines between police & population are being drawn ever more starkly. The police resemble a blind giant doing whack-a-mole. They charge out from their fortresses, attack & arrest, then retreat... & the people return.
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