- Coined as the “Hong Kong Way,” thousands of people gather to form a human chain.
- Protests were shown in the manner of songs, chants, and acts in solidarity.
- Event was inspired by anti-Soviet ‘Baltic Way’ across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1989.
Inspired by anti-Soviet protesters three decades ago, Hong Kong protesters gathered to form a human chain that stretched for kilometers across both sides of Hong Kong harbor on Friday night.
August 23, 1989 marked a historically significant peaceful demonstration where 2 million protesters formed a human chain that stretched 370 miles across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as a show of defiance against Moscow, which widely became known as the Baltic Way. Two years later, the Baltic States achieved independence from the Soviet Union.
With this year marking its 30th anniversary, online citizens on LIHKG, a local online forum, wanted to stage a “Hong Kong Way” with a human chain formed in the city to reiterate the five demands local protesters have been clamoring for.
Friday’s protest was a peaceful event. Organizers had called for people to gather in single file along routes that roughly matched subway lines, snaking to nearly 50 km though Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and the New Territories near the border with mainland China.
One of Hong Kong’s most famous views, Lion Rock hill, was illuminated on Friday. Its peak was visible from across the city as demonstrators waved their phones in the air.
Protesters with illuminated phones sang songs from Les Miserables musical. Demonstrators gathered on Queensway are chanting “Liberate Hong Kong.” “Time of Revolution,” and “We have five demands.”
Some protesters stood in solidarity with a woman whose eye was badly injured on August 11 by covering one of their eyes. Her injury has become one of the key symbols of the protest movement, having many supporters wearing patches or masking an eye with a hand.
Since June, Hong Kong has been a center of protests, violence, and a call for democracy. What rooted from a very public opposition to an extradition bill, it escalated to a public outcry and several calls for the resignation of the city’s chief executives.
But unlike other gatherings, demonstrators stood in single file along pavements. The chain broke and formed again at road junctions to allow traffic through. The protest started at around 8 PM local time and after an hour protesters melted back into the streets, embodying one of the official mottos of the moment: “Be like water.”
China has already accused demonstrators of terrorism, working with foreign powers and fomenting a “color revolution” against China’s rule.