Saturday, 31st August 2019 – The protests against the Hong Kong extradition bill were entering the 13th week. While it was observed that the weekdays more-or-less went by without incident, the weekends were active with demonstrations in various parts of the city. These were happening with secret planning and the police were regularly being taken by surprise.
With Sid having joined HKU, we were in the thick of things. This Saturday morning we were inside the hotel on Des Voeux Road West, planning how to spend the day. Little did we know what was happening on the road below.
“Don’t go anywhere without asking the police if it is safe.” As I stepped out onto the road to check the rain, there was this most concerned stranger telling me to be careful. The oncoming traffic was being diverted with no traffic being allowed beyond a point.
Blue and white barricade walls ensured that no vehicle could cross, but there were gates that made the pedestrian paths accessible. The tram lines weren’t running but people could walk if they wanted to.
This seemed to be an uncommon sight in Hong Kong because there were lots of people getting pictures taken near the barricades. They were also enjoying the emptiness of the roads.
It was only after we went to the other side of the wall that we figured out the reason for the heavy police presence.
One very important building was located there – the China Liaison Office. It was probably expected that the protesters would go there that Saturday, but no, they didn’t.
The next morning, Sunday, everything was back to normal with absolutely no trace of the scenes of the previous day! The police force was deployed to where the real action was taking place, in another part of the city.