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Hong Kong Vignettes: Part I

The master theory of the Hong Kong protests will have to wait for another day; in this post, I'm going to collect vignettes from the ground: Crowd scenes, maps, images, tactics, the role of the built environment. I may, as needed, make reference to Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Non-Violent Protest and Resistance, since the Hong Kong protests are explicitly non-violent. First, I'll start with the cell phones at night:

Reminds me of rock concerts back in the day; when I was doing that, we lit matches; after that, people used (cheap, disposable) lighters; today, people use cell-phones! Here's a close-up from the ground:

This is very beautiful, and to a drone, conveys a message like "World, we know you are watching!" Thinking back -- and please correct my memory, readers -- the Tahrir Square rebellion had nothing like this, although they had the right scale; nor did the indignados, again though they had the right scale; and if the (much smaller) United States Occupations did, I can't remember it; likewise the carré rouge. In Bangkok, the collective act of solidarity was aural, not visual: the whistles. Famously, the Bangkok "prostesters" used their cell-phones to take selfies, they didn't hold them up at night, en masse. (This in itself does not, I think, make the class-consciousness of the Bangkok bourgiesie quite as frivolous as it sounds; rather, they felt no need to tell the world anyone was watching, but only each other.)

We might also compare the technology of the massive crowd photo as it appeared in the press: In Tahrir Square, Al Jazeera actually had a camera positioned with a view into the square; in Bangkok, there were drones, famously and initially from the travel writer Richard Barrow, and in Hong Kong, drones were used, too (made in China).

And now maps. Here's a map of the downtown Honk Kong area:

Impressive. And the protests have spread to from Hong Kong island to the mainland:

(The armchair strategist in me looks at the bay and says "Hmm. Bridges. Chokepoints!" Perhaps the subway is a more efficient people mover than the highway, but it's also hard to envision sending troops or, gawd forbid, tanks through the subway.) Here's a handy map of the subway, and indeed we see the major protest points (so far) are stops:

Which reminds me that for Occupy Wall Street, subway passes were a line-item in the budget. And here are protesters cleaning up at Admiralty Station:

* * *

Unfortunately, I have to stop now. I'll have more tomorrow. I'll leave you with a list of live blogs:

And a list of Instagram accounts:

It's quite remarkable and there's a lot to learn and emulate.

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jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

to rain on the protest but when do the snipers show up?