Protesters apologize to office workers for occupying government buildings yesterday

Protesters hold signs that read “The oppressive government drives people to rebel,” and “Sorry for blocking you” outside government offices today. Screengrab via Apple Daily video.
Protesters hold signs that read “The oppressive government drives people to rebel,” and “Sorry for blocking you” outside government offices today. Screengrab via Apple Daily video.

A small group of protesters gathered today to hand out fliers apologizing to office workers for the disruption caused yesterday when they tried to occupy the lobbies of government buildings in protest of a controversial extradition bill.

The guerrilla protest yesterday saw about a hundred protesters in black t-shirts occupy the lobby of Revenue Tower, blocking doors and allowing occupants to leave the building, but preventing anyone from entering, including everyday citizens with urgent business inside. The group then moved to Immigration Tower where they began riding up and down the building’s escalators.

The purported occupation fizzled out relatively quickly, but not before images circulated in local media of disgruntled civil servants complaining that they couldn’t get into their offices.

One office worker, interviewed on Now TV News, called the action “very outrageous.”

“Why won’t they let me in?” he asked.

The annoyance was a rare blip of dissatisfaction in the midst of what has otherwise been seemingly widespread support for protesters’ goals, which include the full withdrawal of the near-universally disliked extradition bill.

The discontent did not appear to have been lost on protesters.

In a live feed by Apple Daily this afternoon, a handful of protesters in white t-shirts were seen returning to Revenue Tower this afternoon, bowing and apologizing to office workers for blocking their way and handing out fliers explaining why they did what they did yesterday.

The fliers featured an image of hard-hatted worker commonly posted around construction sites, and bore the words “Hong Kong is under urgent maintenance.”

It also included protesters’ list of demands, which includes the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, for the government to retract the use of the word “riot” to refer to a chaotic protest on June 12, and for authorities to drop charges against those arrested in the clashes that day.

Protesters at the scene also held up signs that read “The oppressive government drives people to rebel,” and “Sorry for blocking you.”

Despite millions of everyday Hongkongers turning out to protest the extradition bill in massive rallies in recent weeks, more recent protests have been largely student-led, to the extent that they are led by anyone at all. Those protests have tended to be more disruptive, and included suddenly blocking major roads, and even surrounding the police headquarters in Wan Chai for some 15 hours last Friday.

Opponents of the extradition bill, however, have recently suggested that they are aware of the need to keep the public on their side. In a recent interview, prominent activist Joshua Wong had acknowledged some rumblings in the protesters’ camp that they should cease the escalated actions while the public remains on their side, though he dismissed that notion, saying it was up to the government to withdraw the bill.

Meanwhile, more demonstrations are planned for tomorrow, including one organized by the people behind the city’s record-breaking marches that is expected to be much larger than the protests of the last few days.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS

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