Imagine this happening on Wall Street.
On Dec. 10, hundreds of white-collar Hong Kong protesters—mostly bankers, accountants and lawyers—spent their lunch break in Central’s Statue Square, writing Christmas cards to the protesters who have been jailed since the demonstrations began last June.
These types of actions and open defiance against mainland China occur daily across Hong Kong. Residents there are establishing a momentum of resistance through art, song, graffiti, music, lunch-ins, prayer and creating what has become known as Lennon Walls (named after the memorials that sprung up after John Lennon was killed), where people gather and collectively create collages of protest messages. Lennon Walls happen in parks, storefronts, subway stations and anywhere else there is space.
“Ann” is a lawyer in her 30s who has helped coordinate escape routes for the frontliners during the violent conflicts with police since the protests began more than six months ago, She summed up what the purpose and intention of these “white collar” actions this way: “The police have arrested the best and bravest of us, the kids, and it is up to the rest of us to keep the momentum going until we figure out what to do next.”
Police have arrested more than 6,000 people from ages 11 to 84, and many face up to as much as 10 years in jail. According to the Anti-Extradition Verified News, police have used about 16,000 canisters of tear gas, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 bean bag rounds and 1,850 sponge bullets.
Everyone I spoke with that afternoon has participated in the protest in one form or another. Some wore facemasks in solidarity with the protesters. Others chose not to reveal their faces.
Here are a few of their voices.
Michael Nigro is a leading photojournalist for Truthdig, known for his reporting from deep within major events. He was “on the ground” for the website at the infamous protest in Charlottesville, Va., when…