In a perfect example of the American tendency to think everything in the world revolves around us, some people have been under the impression that protesters in Hong Kong are mimicking the “Hand’s Up, Don’t Shoot” chant popularized in Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed teenager was gunned down in the street by the police.

According to the Atlantic, that may not be the case. After conducting interviews on the street and speaking with protest organizers at Occupy Central, it seems that there’s a simpler explanation for the demonstrators holding their hands in the air. It’s a universal symbol of being unarmed and peaceful. Many of them have not heard of the events in Ferguson. “We have our hands up for showing both the police and media that we have no weapons in our hands,” a protestor explained. Simple enough.

The protestors in the streets in Hong Kong came to international attention over the last few days, as photos of cops teargassing citizens and video of the elderly being pepper-sprayed emerged online.

The protesters are upset over a ruling that Hong Kong’s mostly democratic elections will now have candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee. In one of their most drastic moves to suppress dissent, China’s government banned Instagram earlier today. Instagram has been a hotbed for attention, disseminating striking images of people lifting umbrellas to block teargas raining from above.

If there’s a parallel to Ferguson in any way that would probably be it — social media could be a better way of getting a story straight from the people. Also, ACAB. (Photo: Laurel Chor)