Hong Kong protesters sing American anthem, call on President Trump to ‘liberate’ Hong Kong
A divisive move, if any.
Hong Kong protesters have called on United States President Donald Trump to help them “liberate” the city, which is a Special Administrative Region in China.
Sang American anthem and waved American flags
According to the BBC, a group of protesters raised the American flag and marched to the U.S. consulate general on Sunday, Sept. 8.
They even sang the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, in front of the consulate.
While there have always been a handful of protesters waving US national flags in recent months, today’s march from the US consulate looks to be the most red, white and blue protest that Hong Kong has seen pic.twitter.com/a3cyl6X5St
— Aaron Mc Nicholas (@aaronMCN) September 8, 2019
Some of their banners read, “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong”, and “Make Hong Kong great again”.
They also shouted slogans in English such as, “Resist Beijing! Liberate Hong Kong!”
— Tc.Ying (@yingtc) September 8, 2019
Hong Kong protesters calling for foreign governments to back them
Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly urged foreign governments to hear their pleas and come to their aid.
Their sit-in at the Hong Kong International Airport, which ultimately led to chaos for travellers, was part of their plan to bring global awareness to their cause.
Joshua Wong, the face of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, has also recently called for Taiwan to help the activists fight for democracy.
G7 leaders have backed Hong Kong’s autonomy as laid out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.
British foreign secretary Dominic Raab has also expressed his support for “Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy as provided for in the joint declaration”.
China has accused both the G7 and Britain of meddling in its internal affairs.
Protests turned violent after peaceful march
Protests on Sunday had started off peacefully during the day.
Some photos of the huge crowds in Central for today's march calling in the US to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act, which would mandate annual assessments of whether HK is "sufficiently autonomous" to continue receiving special treatment . (Kevin Cheng/USP) pic.twitter.com/dF9y3I6KSG
— Mary Hui (@maryhui) September 8, 2019
However, they later turned violent towards the evening — a common occurrence these days — with frontline protesters starting fires with cardboard, and setting up barricades with metal fencing, Reuters reported.
More photos of central station on fire 🔥 in Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/be9LW431DZ
— Erin Hale (@erinhale) September 8, 2019
Fire on pedder street – right in the middle of Hong Kong’s expensive central business district – expect to see more today pic.twitter.com/at2kMYnFhg
— Erin Hale (@erinhale) September 8, 2019
They also dislodged bricks from the pavement and threw them at buildings located within a banking and shopping district, smashing the windows in the process.
The vandalism included Central train station, with protesters smashing a long glass panel at a station entrance.
Waving foreign flags
This is not the first time protesters in Hong Kong have waved foreign flags, such as the Union Flag and the American flag.
UK newspaper, The Telegraph, claimed that the protesters waved the Union Flag as they associated the flag with values that they deem worthy, such as “the rule of law, private property, impartial courts, uncensored newspapers, regular elections”.
The American flag is widely seen, especially by Americans, to be a symbol for freedom, liberty and human rights.
However, not everyone agrees with such a move.
Among those who disagree with the waving of foreign flags say such an act might give the impression of Hongkongers wanting to return to British rule, or even hoping for Hong Kong independence.
They also said the move creates a chance for the “50 Cent Army” (a.k.a. pro-China trolls) or the media to manipulate the narrative, and shift the focus away from the five demands of the protesters.
14th straight week of protests
Protests that have rocked the city of Hong Kong have entered its 14th straight week.
What started as a march against a proposed extradition bill that opponents say would erode Hong Kong’s autonomy later evolved into a broader call for greater democratic rights and police accountability.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has since announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill on Wednesday, Sept. 3, after first suspending it, and then declaring it “dead”.
But protesters were not satisfied with the concession, saying it was “too little, too late”, and that they would not stop until all five demands have been met.
Hong Kong government: Let’s agree to one of five three-month-old protest demands, I’m sure that’ll put a stop to demonstrations
Hong Kong people: pic.twitter.com/kNvpe0M9U2
— Benjamin Haas (@haasbenjamin) September 8, 2019
They further justified themselves by saying they would be letting their fellow protesters down should they stop their fight at this point, saying that many have been injured by riot police, with some even committing suicide after seeing no hope in the city’s future.
Signs of fragmentation appearing?
However, the movement might be losing its momentum in the days ahead.
Signs of fissures within the leaderless movement have appeared lately, with some users of Hong Kong’s Reddit-like platform LIHKG calling the organiser of a planned airport protest “rubbish” after the demonstration failed to occur.
Hong Kong authorities had sealed off the airport, as well as all transport hubs in the city, in order to prevent large-scale protests from happening within the airport premises again.
This was a significant development as a main theme of the movement was to never point fingers at one another.
The 2014 Umbrella Movement broke up in part due to disagreements within the protesters themselves when it came to the direction of the social movement.
They had failed to see eye-to-eye on whether they should take the protests a notch higher by resorting to more radical and violent tactics in order to place greater pressure on the government, or to continue their peaceful protests, which is a method they deem as having limited results.
Top image via @Calum_Ip