Saturday, December 16, 2006

More on the Star Ferry tower

I went to the Star Ferry pier again today to take pictures of the demonstrations.

First, though, I want to show you the time progression in photos of the demolition of the tower. It's not perfect, because I never had a picture of the clock tower in its original glory. But the protesters had such pictures, so first I have a picture of that. Next there's the same picture I gave last time of the clock tower with scaffolding around it. Then there's a picture I took today where the clock tower is missing. It's been demolished. The shot is not the same angle as the one I took last time because quite frankly I forgot where I shot it from. This one turns out to be more face-on, while last time it was at a sharp angle.

Now for the demonstrations. Last time I said it was about a couple dozen, because that's what the newspaper article said. A later news article said there were more like 100 demonstrators. When I was there (3 pm) it was definitely more than 100 people, though some of that could have been curious onlookers.

They had a panel of people talking about different things. I randomly ran into someone who works at the HKBU International Office, so she told me that the speaker was saying that this shows the need for real democracy in Hong Kong.

But still the work goes on. There's a hole in the corrugated metal that allowed a view of the actual destruction.

I got a flyer from one of the demonstrators. It mentioned that this clock tower was in fact the site of a hunger strike against the British in 1966. And now, the irony is, the very clock tower is the focus of demonstrations against the Hong Kong government, or in its words:

At the moment that the Clock-Tower ... is being murdered, we begin our hunger-strike... against the Hong Kong SAR Gov't, the so-called "Ruled by Hong Kong People" and "For the people" one.

It goes on:

Someone may say, we are too late. We say, the opposing voice have never stopped. Professionals ... have prepared alternative plans but the gov't does not listen... We can only use the most fundamental weapon of the people, our body to resist the black hand behind the bulldozer.

It seems that this is a focal point for people who want real democracy to come to Hong Kong. Universal suffrage. Free elections. The flyer goes on:

Let Cultural Heritage and Public Space of Hong Kong People return to democratic discussion procedures.

We demand real "For The People".

We want to be Real Hong Kong People and our Real Hong Kong Culture.

If this is supposed to be a touchstone for the burgeoning democracy movement, I don't know how effective it's being. The government realizes now that many Hong Kong people feel they have gone too far. But only 100 or maybe 200 people are here. They're not really disrupting anything. Most Hong Kong people I've talked to are sad to see the clock tower go. But most of them are not at the protest.


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