Although the Occupy Wall Street movement caused for a major discussion of legal tax structures and inspired various places around the globe last fall, most protesters have disappeared because of increased force by police to calm things down. Despite this, a small number of protesters still reside within the Central District of Hong Kong and have refused to leave, even with a recent court order against them.
These protesters, part of the Occupy Central movement which is also known as Occupy Hong Kong, recently held a concert of their own on Monday near Asia’s main HSBC headquarters. Although a 9 p.m. deadline was officially enforced activists continued to dance well past that time. The bank soon stated that a court order will be imposed, which will allow bailiffs to clear out the area, and remove all of the protesters’ items. Despite the Hong Kong Court setting this 9 p.m. deadline two weeks ago, protesters have chosen to stay.
Thanks to the weather and remaining local political issues, Occupy Hong Kong has remained, while so many other movements around the world have already dissipated. According to the NY Times, this movement began on October 15th of last year, just one month after Occupy Wall Street began, and protesters have camped out at the HSBC building ever since.
What’s Their Reason for Staying?
Around Hong Kong, the income gaps are very high compared to other places around the globe, and because of this, these activists continue to protest. According to Reuters, Hong Kong has some of the most expensive property prices in the world.
The interesting thing to note is that the government of Hong Kong hasn’t given too much notice to the movement throughout these past 10 months and hasn’t discussed with HSBC about any efforts to try and remove protesters.
Many Occupy movements around the world were removed last fall and winter once police came out in full form and the weather began to set in. Compared to Hong Kong, things have been different. While winters in Hong Kong are quite cool and easy to deal with, once summer hits, the temperature begins to rise, and it becomes almost unbearable to stay outside for a long period of time.
Thanks to these harsh weather conditions, a movement that originally started around 50 members strong has now dwindled to less than a dozen.
While police officers kept a close eye on the movement during Monday’s concert, they seemed to make no attempts to break it up. However, major activity soon occurred. As the NY Times also reported, a man with no shirt wearing face paint started to set fire to golden paper, typically used at local ceremonies for worship, and remained near HSBC’s escalator until reinforcement was called in.
Four fire trucks soon showed up and joined up with police officers to help talk with protesters and instruct them not to start any more fires.
As it stands right now, the Occupy site consists of 13 tents, chairs, and a few tables. In the background of the tents sits a large sign that reads “We are workers.” Most protesters began in order to show support to everyone throughout Hong Kong that had lost money in 2008 because of savings bonds they had purchased which were linked to Lehman Brothers, who later defaulted.
What’s Next for the Court System?
If Hong Kong activists choose to remain, a writ may soon be issued by the court which will allow for the removal of any items including both tents and personal belongings. According to Businessweek, this writ may be issued within the next few days.
While Occupy Hong Kong has been camping out for the last 10 months, it appears that they had not made much of an effect on the subject of income inequality in the same manner that protests did on July 1st, when over 112,000 people protested about increasing the minimum wage, human rights, and the income gap.
Because of the movement’s limited effect to get the government’s attention, the number of protesters may soon be dwindling even more. As the NY Times noted, many activists are choosing to leave because they believe it has been a waste of both resources and time. With the potential for the court to issue a writ soon, HSBC may be seeing their headquarters returned back to normal within the next few days. As it stands now, however, most remaining protesters seem to be staying put.