#OccupyCentral: The kids are alright

Fruhlein Econar

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The youth, the main drivers of the movement, seem ready to buckle down for the long haul even as anti-Occupy sentiments threaten to destabilize the calm

HONG KONG, China— As the protests in Hong Kong enter another day, the youth, the main drivers of the movement, seem ready to buckle down for the long haul even as anti-Occupy sentiments threaten to destabilize the calm that has defined what is now being called the ‘Umbrella Revolution’. 

On the night of October 3, as the situation in Mongkok was turning violent, protesters on the other side of the harbor was heavily fortifying their barricades with plastic strip locks, sending a clear message: “We’re not going anywhere.”

What started outside the Central Government Complex has branched to other key areas such as Admiralty, Mongkok, Wan Chai, and Tsim Tsa Tsui, and any move to suppress the Umbrella Revolution has in turn created wider support for the movement.


Scattered all throughout the barricaded area, along the stretch of road from Central to Admiralty that holds some of Hong Kong’s most important offices, are tents that function as holding stations for materials and supplies. Sleeping tents and mats are laid out everywhere, some people opting to sleep under the open sky. 

Individuals buzz around early in the morning to perform different tasks. Some fix the boundaries of the occupied area, some organize their tent’s supplies, and some clean up, sweeping and picking up trash. Majority though are young people who have taken it upon themselves to keep the momentum of the movement going by actively maintaining the area and simply refusing to give in to the pressures they are increasingly facing. 

Some students did not attend class the entire duration of the protests, while some head straight to Admiralty in their uniforms after classes. Student unions and other supporters also lend a hand by supplying the materials needed. Inside the tents are boxes of water, umbrellas, and food, all given freely to anybody who needs it. 


A code of conduct is being circulated within the area that emphasizes that this is a protest, not a party. Loud music and excessive noise not relating to the events have been discouraged, and there is a deep awareness of what it will take to achieve legitimacy. 

Taped on almost every surface of the protest area are cardboard and paper messages shouting peace, freedom, and democracy. It is this environment of peace and relative orderliness that has made these protests unique from any the world has seen. 


What is interesting about this movement is its participants’ insistence on the absence of a leader, of a core organizer. There are more prominent figures, yes, but they are more likely to emphasize that this is a movement of the people, a marriage of efforts, no one person dictating the course of action. 

When Rappler asked about who determines what should be done, the most common response is that the people themselves who identify what help is needed. They help because they see a need to, not because they are told what to do; there is no central organizer. One individual sums it up nicely when asked about who or what keeps these protests going. He says, “I just want to help Hong Kong.” 


During the weekend, Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying issued an ultimatum to clear occupied roads before Monday, October 6. 

Pro-democracy demonstrators said on Sunday, October 5, they would withdraw from a secondary protest site and clear a blockaded road near the government’s headquarters ahead of a deadline to clear the streets.


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