Hong Kong police took chainsaws and sledgehammers to barricades set up by pro-democracy demonstrators today. The New York Times reports that the barricades were largely symbolic, but the dismantling by authorities has prompted protesters to build stronger ones out of bamboo, trash cans, bus stop signs and other available materials.
Reports say that crackdowns prompted thousands to return to the streets in support. Bruce Sze, a protester, tells Reuters:
We will rebuild them after the police remove them, we won’t confront the police physically.
That resistance to confrontation has come to define what many have called the “Polite Revolution.” Reporting for ANIMAL in Hong Kong, Danie Higginbothamn says that the impulse to be considerate is starting to take it’s toll on protestors.
Important roads in busy financial sectors have been blocked off, disturbing bus routes and leading to more traffic on the MTR (Hong Kong’s subway.) While minor inconveniences are ultimately a small price to pay, I think that people are simply starting to feel fatigued.
She goes on to express doubts about how long protestors will be able to reconcile their desire for change without being too disruptive.
At this point, it’s hard to think about what the remaining protesters should do. If they stop their activities, it will make them look weak. If they carry on, support will continue to drop off, as people begin to get angrier about the interference in their lives.
Regardless what happens in the coming weeks, the people of Hong Kong have gotten a feel for rebellion. You’re never the same after your first taste of tear gas. (Photo: Johnny Politastic)