Hong Kong Umbrella Movement Marks Anniversary

Yellow umbrellas and makeshift tents were back in the city centre on Monday, as the protesters gathered chanting anti-government slogans, according to Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride.


Yet, despite the unprecedented rallies that garnered extensive coverage across the world, protesters were unable to force change.

Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong, university professor and protest leader Benny Tai and veteran democracy leader Martin Lee also travelled to the United States this week, hoping Washington would press Xi on democratic reform.

The Umbrella Movement became the most serious unrest in the city since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

“The Umbrella Movement… was just the beginning for Hongkongers in their quest for democracy”, he said.

“The government hasn’t given any positive response and we’ve tried a lot of methods like occupation to pressure the government, but it didn’t turn out the way we expected”, said Law, Secretary General of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

Some protesters expressed their anger at the lack of progress.

“We have not achieved universal suffrage”, a woman in her 30s, who gave her name as Lam, told AFP.

The student leader has also said that Hong Kong doesn’t need another Occupy Central but rather should be moving its focus towards 20147, when the supposed end of the “One Country, Two Systems” model is set to expire.

Occupy Central was launched exactly a year ago, calling for fully free leadership elections in the semi-autonomous city, following more than a week of student protests.

Since then, China and pro-democracy lawmakers and activists in Hong Kong have battled to a standstill over how to elect the city’s leader, with a Beijing-sponsored bill defeated in the Legislative Council in June.

Police attempts to scatter the crowds by using tear gas backfired, enraging the protesters and kick-starting their rally, which some called the Umbrella Movement and others dubbed Occupy Central.

Despite the Hong Kong legislature voting down changes that would have allowed for Beijing to screen candidates in the 2017 election, the struggle for democracy continues.

It allows far greater civil liberties than on the Chinese mainland, but there are growing fears those freedoms are being eroded.

The movement fizzled out as the government stuck to a hard line and authorities eventually cleared out all three protest camps.

On Monday, Amnesty global called for the release of eight mainland Chinese activists who face long prison sentences for posting messages and pictures supporting the pro-democracy protests.


A number of activists are facing court cases over the protests while police allegedly involved in beating a protester have yet to be prosecuted.

The Umbrella Movement - one year on