Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1 July March

It was the first of July and the people were marching again. This time I went to the head of the march at Causeway Bay to take pictures. I saw the police motorcycles, the police vans, and the many police officers that cleared the way, the numerous reporters and amateur photographers (like me), and the volunteers that kept order. Perhaps a hundred people had gone by before the first real marchers appeared.

The main theme remained the demand for democracy and elections. But there were also demands for justice and equality, wage increases, migrant workers’ rights, sex workers’ right, rights of abode, independent radio broadcasting, justice for people who do business in the mainland, etc. It might not be a unified voice. But the depth of the discontent was palpable.

It was really hot. After standing in the sun for 30 minutes or so, I was drenched. Why would these ordinary-looking people be willing to endure such discomfort on a holiday? Unless they are really unhappy with something that the government is doing, or not doing? It is understandable that people (including those in government) prefer to listen to friendly voices. But a responsible government would also listen to those who are unhappy enough to march; and then to try to do something to reduce the amount of discontent.

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