Citys residents respond after police arrest student leader for possessing an offensive weapon, also known as a laser pointer

Hundreds of people have staged a laser show in Hong Kong to protest against the arrest of a student union leader who bought a bag of laser pointers for possessing an offensive weapon.

Police had sought to justify the arrest of Keith Fong, head of the Baptist University student union, by showing how one of the lasers could burn through newspaper.

On Wednesday night, protesters gathered at the Space Museums planetarium and pretended to set the building and trees outside on fire using the lasers. They chanted fire, fire, not on fire, as they pointed dozens of laser beams at the outside wall of the building.

In a trolling homage to Tuesdays arrest, protesters also held up a pro-Beijing newspaper, pointing dozens of laser beams at it in an attempt to set it on fire, without success.

Protesters
Protesters focus the laser pointers on a newspaper in answer to police claims they could burn paper. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

Police say the lasers, which protesters have been directing at their eyes and at cameras, are dangerous offensive weapons.

The gathering later evolved into a party and carnival with singing, dancing, and hand-shadow puppet shows projected on to the side of the planetarium, a far cry from the tense atmosphere of the recent mass protests against the increasing encroachment of Beijing on the citys freedoms.

Soon, footage emerged of the nights festivities to background music from Star Wars, creating a montage that made it look as though the protesters were rebel fighters shooting down the airships of the evil empire.

Tonight was something we all needed: no tears, no blood, just laughter, song, and dance. Ill be revisiting this thread next time I come home with the smell of tear gas still clinging to me and screams ringing in my ears. This is the city we love. This is why we do it, writer Ryan Ho Kilpatrick tweeted.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick (@rhokilpatrick)

Tonight was something we all needed: no tears, no blood, just laughter, song, and dance. Ill be revisiting this thread next time I come home with the smell of tear gas still clinging to me and screams ringing in my ears. This is the city we love. This is why we do it. pic.twitter.com/TtV8tM2AyO

August 7, 2019

It was a sentiment being shared by people across social media as Hong Kong took a much-needed breather from the tense scenes that have gripped the city in recent weeks after a total of almost 2000 rounds of teargas were fired at protesters during clashes with police.

The city is facing its worst political crisis since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and the escalating and increasingly more unpredictable protests have prompted countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan and now the United States to issue travel alerts.

The protests began in opposition to a now-suspended extradition law, which would have allowed suspects to be tried in mainland Chinese courts. They have now broadened into a backlash against the government of the Asian financial hub, fuelled by many residents fears of eroding freedoms under the tightening control of Chinas Communist party leaders in Beijing.

Protesters
Protesters use laser pointers to light the Hong Kong Space Museum. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

Across the border in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, government officials have been discussing the political crisis.

Zhang Xiaoming, one of Beijings top officials in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, said it was a pressing and overriding task to prevent Hong Kong from sinking into an abyss, the South China Morning Post reported.

The director of the state councils Hong Kong and Macau affairs office warned that if the protests escalated beyond the Hong Kong governments control the Chinese army could be deployed to restore law and order.

Zhang said bowing to protesters demands would not resolve the crisis. However, he left open the possibility of the Hong Kong government setting up a commission of inquiry into the extradition bill saga once order had been restored.

But despite repeated bombastic warnings from mainland officials and media protesters remain defiant, using not just protests, but employing a wry brand Hong Kong humour and a social media public relations campaign of sorts as their tools of resistance.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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