By Stephanie Szeto @stepszeto
From last September to December, Harcourt Road outside the Hong Kong government headquarters was filled with tents to protect the Umbrella Revolution protestors from the ever changing weather. Pro-democracy signs were hanging all over the area and the utopia of Harcourt Village was established.
Foreseen that the movement was going to last a while, Hongkongers, who either could not participate the enduring sit-in or some of the them claimed they were too coward to take part in, showed their support by their own style of contribution. Groups of volunteers distributed materials to the protesters, like food, water, face towels or paper fans. Some of them sprayed mist sprayers to cool down the
heat, and the others collected garbage and managed the recycling drop-off area. The female public toilet on the Connaught Road Central had been washed cleaner ever and now filled with toiletries and feminine hygiene by volunteers. A parent expressed on Facebook that her child has never done any housework but now he started to take responsibility of it, and she was surprised how much her son had grown by engaging in the social movement. On the other side of the street, a group of carpenters built a sizeable study corner for the occupying students with chairs, desks and bookshelves. A full-time lifeguard enjoyed carpentry in his pastime came over to help the setup and said, “I don’t want to see the students sacrificing their grades for democracy.” (Frankenberry, Ruzic, & Chan, 2014). The study area included library corner filled with books later known for “Charter Self-study Area” as the Cantonese translation of “Charter” can have the meaning of “umbrella fight”. Inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Lennon Wall has been created by colourful post-it as wall paper with protesters’ encouraging messages and desires for democracy.
The bitter protest of Umbrella Revolution pro-democracy sit-in has come to an end after 79th days.
During the clearance, camps in the protest sites were torn down and protesters were escorted or carried off to the police arranged coaches. In those districts, traffic resumed heavily jammed as nothing had happened; however, that was not the end but the wakeup call of the long-term democratic movement that demonstration signs demanding for “real universal suffrage” and promising “we will be back” were spread to hang up all over Hong Kong.