"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Occupy Central in Hong Kong

Photo by Sister Deborah Coffey - the empty blockaded streets, closed off to traffic with barriers.
The streets are eerily quiet this afternoon as we leave the Asia Area office, being blockaded and closed off to traffic.  Just beyond the view in this street, thousands of protesters, many of them students, are into their third day of protests, demanding "universal sufferage" - or the freedom to have, "open and fair elections".  The first night of protests saw some tear gas clashes between protesters and police, which angered many people and brought out more protesters by the droves. The second day there were over 100,000 people who engulfed the streets around the government buildings with their chants, slogans, cheers - and bodies.
But other than the first night of some unfortunate minor clashes, these protests are stunningly peaceful, even amidst the sheer magnitude of numbers. Volunteers bring in water, bananas and other items for the protesters.  Black t-shirts, yellow ribbons and umbrellas carry the symbols of the movement.  A downpour of rain brings welcome relief from the heat but does not dampen spirits.  

Photo by Elder Thomas Crockett - the crowds come through the barrier to march down Gloucester Road
past our Asia Area office.  
More news of the protests can be seen here: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/30/world/asia/china-hong-kong-protests/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Missionaries at the Area Office, as well as employees, were encouraged to go home early the last couple of days, before the evening crowds swelled the streets again. Bus routes have been significantly limited in many areas, with bus lines largely not running to help keep traffic and extra bodies away.  But the subways are still running, swollen to overflowing with excessively long lines due to the extra strain. Many banks and businesses are closed in the Occupy Central district.  

Photo by Elder Thomas Crockett
It is a very large, mostly peaceful, protest.  Day three will be October 1st, the National Day - a holiday signifying the day the People's Republic of China was formed in 1949.  We are expecting very large crowds of protesters.    

Photo by Elder Thomas Crockett
The Church maintains political neutrality in these matters.  But it is interesting to be here at this time!  

Photo by Elder Thomas Crockett

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