Asia

Hong Kong protesters bid camp farewell

Updated 12:01 AM ET, Sun September 27, 2015
Share
0202
1 of 9
Days before police moved in to clear the site, CNN spoke to the protesters about their campaign, how it had changed them and what could happen next. Wilfred Chan/CNN
The Umbrella Movement, as the demonstrations became known, made headlines around the world. Protesters populated a big stretch of highway in the city's Admiralty district with rows of colorful tents, outdoor classrooms and art installations.

Hang Tung, 29, has been mapping the protest site throughout its evolution. "I feel really sad about (the planned clearance)," she told CNN. "It's like home now. And it's like your home is getting evicted, and it's sad to leave this community."
Wilfred Chan/CNN
China's central government has said Hong Kong may hold elections, but only if candidates are selected by a small China-friendly committee. Protesters were demanding Beijing retract the decision, but both Chinese and Hong Kong officials ruled that out. Wilfred Chan/CNN
Public support for the student-led protests swelled in late September after police used tear gas and other tough tactics in a botched attempt to disperse demonstrators.

For Stella Lau, a self-described middle class teacher, it was a turning point. "I don't want to be stale in terms of my view on social development," she said. "I've woken up."
Wilfred Chan/CNN
Though it was largely peaceful, repeated violent clashes erupted, leaving dozens of police and protesters injured. One night, protesters used metal barricades to ram through a glass door in Hong Kong's government headquarters, leading to multiple arrests. The government condemned those protesters as "violent radicals."

Gypsy Wong, 22, said she felt disturbed and upset after witnessing a night of clashes, as protesters attempted to charge onto a key road only to be beaten back by police. "That night I cried, and I don't want to see that again," she said.
Wilfred Chan/CNN
The protests revealed deep political divides within the city. Many young Hong Kongers, normally stereotyped as politically apathetic, sided with the pro-democracy protests. But opposition to the protests was been fierce, especially among older generations who have founded numerous "anti-Occupy" groups.

Robert Chow, the leader of prominent anti-Occupy group "Silent Majority," wrote in an CNN op-ed that Hong Kong's protesters were holding the city "hostage."
Wilfred Chan/CNN
In June 2015, Hong Kong lawmakers rejected a Beijing-backed bill that would have allowed Hong Kongers to vote for their next leader, from an approved list. Pro-democracy legislator Albert Chan, who voted against the bill, called the result a "victory." "We do not want to have a fake democratic system in Hong Kong," he told CNN.

Democracy campaigners are setting their eyes on the Legislative Council elections in 2016.
Wilfred Chan/CNN
Protest leaders said they didn't intend to put up a fight when the camp was cleared.
Wilfred Chan/CNN
Few in the city of 7 million people expected the protests to last as long as they did. International observers were watching the protests, looking for any signs that may have hinted at a change in China's attitude to democratic reform. Wilfred Chan/CNN