While international media attention has focused on clashes between students and riot police, thousands of office and other workers flooded the streets in downtown Hong Kong in daily lunchtime actions. These demonstrations in support of the protest movement, like the one above, Nov. 8, have paralyzed much of the city. “Driven by anger at the authorities’ response to massive protests,” the Hong Kong Free Press said Nov. 16, “and guilt that the burden of defending democracy has fallen on the city’s youth — a white-collar rebellion is rippling across Hong Kong.”
The city government of the semi-autonomous financial hub, more and more openly controlled by the oppressive regime in Beijing, has failed to subdue five months of sometimes millions-strong mobilizations aimed at greater political rights. Standing reality on its head, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called the protesters “enemies of the people.” She has denied permits for peaceful rallies while stepping up violent police attacks on protests.
For the first time, thousands of college and high school students occupied the five main university campuses Nov. 12. Many people gave them supplies or shielded them from arrest, but four sites were violently cleared by riot police. Protesters at Polytechnic University in Kowloon held out, supporting barricades blocking the Cross Harbor Tunnel to Hong Kong Island. “Yesterday, the students and protesters tried to leave,” Daniel Chan reported to the Militant Nov. 18 from Hong Kong. The police used tear gas and rubber bullets “to prevent them from leaving” unless they submitted to arrest.