Hong Kong protest leaders arrested: Live updates
No one predicted this.
In 2014, when the final protesters were cleared from Hong Kong’s streets after 79 days of pro-democracy protests — many of them forcibly carried off by police — they promised they’d be back.
For years that seemed like a pipe dream. But this summer has proved not so.
Four years and eight months and 12 days after the Umbrella Movement ended, on Tuesday this week the current protests surpassed the Umbrella Movement in duration and massively overtook it in terms of disruption and political turmoil.
And they show no signs of stopping.
As the protests enter their 13th weekend the complete withdrawal of the now-shelved bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China remains a priority. But protesters have also expanded their demands to include the driving issue of the 2014 protests: Genuine democracy in how the city picks its leader.
The Umbrella Movement, a brief explainer:
When the British handed Hong Kong back to Chinese control in 1997, the city switched from having a London-picked governor to a local Chief Executive, selected by an “election committee” and officially appointed by Beijing.
But the ultimate aim was for the city’s leader to be elected “by universal suffrage.”
In 2014, however, China’s leaders ruled out full universal suffrage, saying that candidates could be elected by the public — only after they had been approved by a Beijing-dominated nomination committee.
Most democratic activists and lawmakers rejected the deal as a sham and it was eventually defeated in the city’s legislature after a botched walkout by pro-government legislators.
In the interim, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers occupied parts of the city for 79-days, demanding Beijing withdraw its decision and allow the chief executive to be elected by “genuine universal suffrage.”
After the use of tear gas in the early hours of the protests backfired spectacularly, bringing more people to the streets, authorities took a largely hands-off approach, and the Umbrella Movement had gradually fizzled out by the time police cleared the last dedicated protesters in December 2014.