Monday, July 01, 2013

July 1 March

This year we (myself, my wife, and our youngest daughter) marched with a bunch of Christians.  Our demands are mainly democracy, freedom, universal suffrage, anti-discrimination, and family values. We are not a very big group, certainly less than 100 people when we set off.  We did prayed before setting off.  Along the way, however, we saw may other Christian groups participating in various ways, including offering free-tutorship for under-privileged students, and other social services

It was raining heavily already even before the march started around 2:40 PM.  But the people were not deterred. It was amazing to see so many people marching in such heavy rain.  It makes you wonder.  The people must be pretty angry to come out in such numbers in pouring rain, under the typhoon signal number 3, just under one level below the truly dangerous number 8.  And they all seem to have come prepared.  Practically everyone had an umbrella, or raincoat, or both.

Any responsible government would have to notice it, and reflect on it.  But you have to wonder how much this government cares. Our group joined the march around 3 PM, and the going was slow.  At first I thought it was because of the rain, and the sheer number of people marching. When we got to Yee Wo Street, near SOGO, I saw another reason.  The police, hundreds of them, had blocked off half of the street.  Presumably it was to allow emergency traffic to go through.  But it was clear there was no traffic of any kind, and emergency traffic could still have used the side streets.  No wonder many people thought the real reason was to make it difficult for the marchers, perhaps just to annoy them.

Clearly the main target of the people’s ire was the Chief Executive.  There were repeated chants demanding his ouster.

The common sentiment was that he was responsible for much of the ills, such as many cases of lying, national (pro-communist) education, not delivering campaign promises on housing and other social issues, suppressing press freedom, lack of progress in universal suffrage, ... 

One new development this year is many events organized by pro-establishment organizations to distract the citizenship, and to lure them away from the march.  Apparently some of such events were well-attended.  Some people coming off such events, however, claimed that they will rush off to participate in the march afterwards.  Such is the degree of discontent here.  It does not look like these stunts were doing much to impact the march itself.  What it did do, was to allow the establishment to claim that some people were doing things other than marching.  Such actions are typical of rulers unwilling to acknowledge the people’s discontent.

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