Co reporting: Matthieu Dorey
You’ve probably already seen them, standing in O’Connell street in front of the Spire, with signs covered of slogans for democracy in Hong-Kong. Who are they? How are they acting for their country? We discussed with a few of them to understand their cause.
Everything started with a simple conversation on Facebook Messenger. We
“When pro-democratic people are caught by Hong-kong police they are forced to give all their passwords.” Every day they see it on their facebook wall. Friends being arrested by policemen, posting a quick message to let know the others that they are “out”. For police forces, it’s an easy way to improve their database of protesters to identify them during riots and arrest them.
“If a friend is arrested, the related group members need to quit and clear chat messages, avoid replying messages until you know she/he is safe.”
Even if they are 9 900 km away from Hong-Kong, they support their fellows since the beginning of the protest. “We started the movement in Dublin right after a million people went in Hong-Kong streets on the 12th of June. We wanted to unite people and gain solidarity in Ireland.” In the beginning, they were only two, after 15 events they now count 40 full-time people that support the movement. By giving tracts in the street, organizing events and sittings, they want to inform people on how to help Hong-Kong protesters.
“Irish people understand how it feels being oppressed by a super-powerful country. We hope that more and more citizens became aware of the situation. This is not just for Hong Kong, it’s also for Irish people. Hongkongers are not only fighting for their own democracy but also against the robs of people’s freedom and spreads totalitarianism in-and-out of their nation.”
For them, the most important thing to do is to make Irish people understand how it can be important to use their “democratic tools”. “We are asking people to write to their TD’s or MP’s to review their relationship with China. Spreading the message is essential.” Citizens are not the only ones that should be involved :
“I think that the states, the EU and the United Nations shouldn’t only care about the beneficial relation gained from China. We should not forget the core value of human rights and freedom. As china is growing stronger and more influence among countries.”
“My parents don’t want me to go back to Hong-K
When Miss L started to feel comfortable with us she explained how the protestations used to happen for her friends living there. Many of them are students, most of the time their parents are against protestations and don’t want them in the streets. “Some of them might be afraid of their parent’s interdictions. But those who go to protests are always in the front-line.”
Since June, Hongkongers represent their opinion by using different types of colour ribbons. The yellow ones, the majority of them, support the pro-democratic movement. When the police and the protesters started to fight, some people began to wear a blue ribbon to show their supports to the police forces.
- To understand all the ribbons types: The Independent.
Because of these confrontations between people and police, families are afraid to see their children being arrested or injured in the streets. “My family encouraged me to look for a career abroad because they don’t want me to go back to Hong-Kong. They are afraid of seeing me in the frontline.” She explained that many of her friends are in the same situation. Even if she wants to go home and fight for democracy with the people that she growth with, she will stay here to help the Dublin movement.
“I felt so helpless that I cannot do anything to change the situation. Then I met those activists in Ireland and I finally realized that I could do concrete things to help in the overseas frontline.”
The pro-democratic movement is not taking place just in Hong-Kong’s streets. Miss L explained to us that “any democracy movement/revolutions, need a different kind of roles and positions.”
Testimonies of police brutality by protesters in Hong-Kong
Miss L shared with us several testimonies of pro-democratic activists who had been injured, beaten and arrested by police forces. She translated it for us but the group is used to transcript this kind of piece from Cantonese to English to make the world know what’s happening in Hong-Kong.
” ‘Dreaming’ and ‘sleepwalking’ have emerged as two of the euphemisms most used by protesters to describe unauthorized gatherings in an attempt to stay out of legal trouble.”
In one of the testimonies, a young protester tale of the “chaos” that he been through during his “dreams“. He saw twice a “13-year-old boy wearing a mask covering half of his face at the frontline.”
Readings after readings, we’ve seen how the protesters were young and how they can be involved in such violent protestations. The other one was a 17-year-old girl that has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress traumatic disorder. Because she witnessed acts of violence in the street.
“I saw my fellows being arrested or beaten up but I couldn’t do anything. Because I am just a 17-year-old secondary school student. I am not as strong as the police. What I only know is how to extinguish the tear gases.”
To complete these stories, Miss L translated for us one part of a video of the ‘Assembly against Torture in San Uk Ling Detention Center 9.27.” Very touching testimony giving an idea of what’s happening after arrestations.