A diverse cross-section of Hong Kong took part in protests. These are some of the people.
Not just the youngsters.
The city of Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of protests in June 2019.
They were against a controversial extradition bill that has since been suspended by the Hong Kong government, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam being forced to make a rare apology to the public.
The protests, which organisers say were attended by about two million people, saw Hongkongers from a diverse cross-section of society join in, ranging from young students to business people to middle-aged men and women.
Most protesters, however, kept their identities hidden and urged reporters not to take closeup shots of their faces in order to avoid any possible legal repercussions or employment risks in the future.
Nevertheless, here are the faces of possibly the largest protest the city has ever seen.
A middle-aged woman, who claimed she is a mother, was captured on camera sobbing and pleading with a crowd of Hong Kong police to stop firing tear gas at the protesters.
She was part of a group of mothers who called for a gathering a day after Lam said in a teary interview that as a mother of two, she could not indulge in her children’s “wayward behaviour” as they might resent her for not stopping them when they were young.
So iconic was she that she became the subject of several memes.
“Coffee shop” uncles
A conversation between two middle-aged men at a local roast pork restaurant went viral not only for its hilarity, but also because many people identified with the points raised.
One of the uncles, while peppering his speech with plenty of “diu lei lo mo” phrases (a Cantonese vulgarity), tried to convince his friend to see things from the point of view of the protesters.
While some people say the students were radical and violent as they kept pushing the police back, the uncle pointed out that the power was imbalanced in the first place as the police were equipped with full gear like vests, helmets and rubber bullet guns.
In addition, he reminded his friend that it was not simply the young people who were pissed about the situation, but also everyone else in Hong Kong.
He said: “If everyone in Hong Kong thinks like you do and Ah Shing (another friend), then Hong Kong is screwed.”
The uncle also felt vindicated for he was not the only one who opposed the bill — many young and educated Hongkongers such as the lawyers, university students and businessmen — feel the same way too.
Foreigners living in Hong Kong
Two Filipinos who have been in Hong Kong for over 30 years, as well as an Australian, prepared 700 hotdogs to distribute to the protesters on Wednesday, June 12.
He did the same for the pro-democracy protests in 2014 too.
While he was affected by the tear gas fired by the police at one point, he said his heart melted after hearing the words of gratitude from the Hongkongers.
A video of a journalist (Lin Yan Bang from Stand News) speaking his mind went viral for the points he articulated.
“How is it a riot when people didn’t even break the glass and rob shops?”
“If you are simply trying to disperse the protesters, why would you use pepper spray on a person sitting down in an area not even close to the protest zone?”
“And why would you keep beating up a protester who has already given himself up?”
“I can’t see how professional these law enforcers have been,” he added.
In response to claims that young people were paid to protest on the streets, Lin pointed out the risks they would have to contend with should they do that.
These included getting attacked by tear gas, getting pepper sprayed, which could potentially cause them to go blind, and facing the risk of being jailed.
“These are not things that can be compensated by money,” he said.
“They clearly know about all these possible consequences, but are still willing to step out. I really can’t think of any reason other than them loving their city.”
Roy Kwong, a member of the Legislative Council (Legco), was one of the prominent figures of the protests.
While Hongkongers did not take him seriously in the past and made fun of his unconventional writing style (excessive use of commas in his musings about relationships), he earned his due respect for his devotion to the protests.
He was seen trying to mediate between the groups of protesters and the police.
Christians held a massive prayer gathering the night before the protests on June 12.
Clips of them singing the song, Sing Hallelujah to the Lord to defuse the situation between the protesters and the police were popular.
Online searches for the song they were singing spiked as well.
In addition, 50 Buddhists joined in the protests too, saying they were inspired by the Christians, reported HK01.
Young working professionals
Young working adults took part in the protests too, rushing down to join the rest of the protesters after they knocked off from work.
A 27-year-old mainland Chinese working in logistics in neighbouring Shenzhen even travelled to Hong Kong to show his support.
“I heard about the protests online after bypassing [the mainland’s] firewall. Since I live nearby I decided to check it out,” he told South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“As a Chinese citizen, it’s heartening to know that there is still a place like Hong Kong with democracy and freedom of speech,” he added.
Someone even attended the protests while dressed up as a character from Game of Thrones.
Top image via Roy Kwong/FB