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A Photographer Reflects on Conflicts He’s Been Covering in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG–After pro-democracy protesters on the evening of Oct. 14 successfully shutdown Lung Wo Road, one of the major roadways in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong police came at them in a striking altercation that left some injured and in the hospital. The police beat protesters with batons, punching and kicking, and using pepper spray.
Early in the morning of Oct. 16, out of anger for how the police handled handled the situation, protesters once again shut down the roadway. They stood in front of cars, and even laid down in the middle of the road forcing cars to stop.
The police pushed back the protesters and they pushed back and surrounded a few of them holding their hands up while they did it. It was a chaotic situation for everyone, the police pushed up against the wall, protesters yelling and cursing at the police and media in the middle of all of it trying to get their shots and videos. Some of us climbed a wall that was only about 4 feet wide with a drop on the other side that was 5 stories high.
As more and more media people jumped up and crowded this little space, I personally started to get concerned that someone would fall. These past two days have been a life changing experience as I have never covered a situation this intense. Soon after a Western man came up and laid down at the edge holding and telling people to stand back.
All of a sudden I see the umbrellas going up and I could see the pepper spray flying everywhere. One of the photographers who was on the ground got hit in the face and a protester below me got hit so I gave him my water bottle as others tried to help him.
This sent the protesters to join up even more, the umbrellas came out again and there was a long stand off between them and the police. For the moment things were still. Cars were driving by, either yelling at the protesters or yelling at the police. When they would honk in accord to what was happening, the protesters would all start to cheer and holler.
Slowly the number of protesters were slowly going down and the tiredness started to kick in as they all started to sit down while the police were still standing over them.
One thing I get from all of this is how selfish one man could be. It seems that a good and upright leader would recognize how his citizens are not happy with him and volunteer to step down so as to bring his country peace and happiness. But instead their Chief Executive CY Leung is holding on to this power with a death grip and the police are standing right in the center obeying orders.
Hongkongers love their country and care for one another. Even a protester told me today that he cares for the police and wish they would stop because they are all from the same nation. There is a bond here with Hongkongers that I never experienced anywhere else. They love their country and love their freedom.
Because of CY Leung’s selfishness that bond and freedom is starting to break. It is sad that a man would destroy his country by allowing the people to fight each other just so at the end of the day he can still have his job. If this would be any other lower position in society, wouldn’t he be arrested?

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