I love Hong Kong. I think its one of the greatest cities on earth and my home for seven years. And this weekend, peaceful protests turned ugly as police attacked crowds with tear gas and batons. Over 50,000 people took to the streets protesting against the Chinese Government in Beijing's attempts to pervert democracy in the region. They had decreed that yes, there would still be elections but only government approved candidates may stand. The people of Hong Kong said no, this isn't how it works and made their opinions known with the Occupy Central movement.
Now not one window was broken, nor store looted. No police were attacked nor were there any other disturbances apart from people filling the streets. Yet the response was aggressive to say the least.
Seeing such a great city, such proud people attacked like this breaks my heart. This was always the fear in a post-97 world, and the distrust in the one country, two systems pledge when the Chinese took over and here we are, not even twenty years later, and its happening. I can't believe the government will back down - it's not in their nature - but nor will the people who still honour Tainanmen Square every year.
In my book SWITCH/BLADE, I wrote about riots tearing Central apart but seeing the real images are far worse than anything I imagined. Never did I think my make believe would come true. My heart breaks wondering what will happen next.
As the people stand strong with upturned umbrellas as their only weapons, wearing home made gas masks and cling film wrapped around them to protect their skin from gas burns, I pray that this madness stops.