Approximately 120 students flocked the SLC courtyard Oct. 1 to show support for Occupy Central, also known as the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. The peaceful protest began Sept. 26 in the financial district of Hong Kong, known as Central, and has grown by the thousands since.
Students in Hong Kong felt that Beijing was backing out on their promise of a “one country, two systems” method of government that ensures Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status. The Chinese government recently declared that only “pre-approved” candidates were eligible for Hong Kong’s next election, despite China’s promise of free, democratic elections to elect Hong Kong’s representatives into the Central People’s Government. In response, students and citizens took to the streets, occupying Central, and other major transportation and tourist hubs in Hong Kong. Ian Chui, organizer of the UW and Laurier Yellow Ribbon Campaign and spokesperson of Ontario’s United Front of Hong Kong Students, said the goal of the event and many similar across the country is to sign a mass petition and send it to Parliament in Ottawa. The group of students distributed flyers to raise awareness and used their laptops to show footage of the protest occurring in Hong Kong. Chui talked about youth engagement in the process and how impressed he was that the protesters have remained peaceful despite tensions between police forces. “I think its [protesters are] even more peaceful than Canadians,” Chui said. What makes the protest so unusual is the Hong Kong police force’s extensive use of tear gas. Protesters use umbrellas to shield themselves, hence the movement’s nickname, “The Umbrella Revolution.” Since images of the protest flooded social media networks and global news networks, people around the globe have begun to show support for the Umbrella Revolution. Rallies were held in Taipei, Vancouver, Vienna, London, and Dublin.