Hong Kong marks Mid Autumn Festival with protests, new anthem
Mid Autumn Festival is typically celebrated with lanterns, lion dances and mooncakes, but this year Hong Kong is adding a more recent tradition: protests.
Saturday marks the 15th consecutive weekend of protests over an extradition bill with China, the withdrawal of which was finally announced this month. Protesters have vowed to continue the unrest until the government responds to more of their key demands, including an investigation into allegations of police brutality and the resumption of long-stalled political reform.
The Hong Kong Tennis Open, due to take place next month, has been indefinitely postponed “in light of the present situation,” the latest public event to be canceled over apparent security concerns.
Mid Autumn-themed protests are scheduled throughout Friday and into the weekend, including a repeat of the “Hong Kong Way,” a citywide human chain formed last month to coincide with the 30th anniversary of a similar protest in the Balkans against Soviet occupation.
Smaller human chains, holding lights and lanterns as per tradition, are due to be formed on The Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island, and Lion Rock across the harbor on the Kowloon peninsula. Other protesters will gather at a “Lennon Wall,” a colorful mosaic of Post-It messages of defiance, to commemorate several protesters whose deaths have been linked to the movement.
Protesters also plan to join traditional celebrations of Mid Autumn Festival held across the city, co-opting the displays as a form of solidarity building, laser pointers, lanterns and mooncakes in tow.
Anyone in attendance can also expect to hear “Glory to Hong Kong,” a song which has, in a matter of days, become the unofficial anthem of the movement. This week, large flash mobs gathered in various malls across the city for mass singalongs, even entering into a sing-off with pro-Beijing protesters in the swanky IFC mall in Central, with the counter-demonstrators attempting to drown out “Glory to” with China’s anthem, “March of the Volunteers.”
More protests are planned Sunday, including another “stress test” of the city’s airport, though these demonstrations have failed in recent weekends, amid an intense securitization of the terminals.
The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the group which planned mass marches attended by hundreds of thousands of people early on in Hong Kong’s summer of discontent, had called for a march on Sunday, but did not receive police permission. The group is appealing that decision, but many protesters said online that they still planned to demonstrate that day, raising the potential for clashes with police over the unauthorized action.