Protesters are to blame for the 'Occupy Central' chaos

Updated: 2014-10-01 07:42

By Eddy Li(HK Edition)

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The traditional National Day activity in Hong Kong is to view the splendid fireworks display over Victoria Harbour.

But this year, due to fears of serious disruption at the main access roads leading to key firework viewing spots, the HKSAR Government has announced the cancelation of the fireworks. This is only one example of the chaos caused by the "Occupy Central" campaign.

"Occupy" is a movement which lacks popular support. Television news revealed scenes of protesters repeatedly charging the police cordon despite multiple warnings. This later forced police officers to use pepper spray, batons and tear gas. I was greatly concerned at this point - as were many Hong Kong people.

I couldn't help asking - why has our magnificent city become like this?

I blame the three initiators of the "Occupy" campaign. Since last year, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, one of the three organizers, began advocating "Occupy" in a series of published articles. It subsequently developed into a major weapon, which the "pan-democrats" used in their campaign to threaten the central and SAR governments. But the majority of Hong Kong people believe it will be a disaster for the city. It will certainly impact negatively on Hong Kong's economy and people's living standards. The concerns of mainstream Hong Kong were expressed in the anti-"Occupy" petition launched by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy. This attracted more than 1.5 million signatures.

The three "Occupy" organizers have claimed that it is a peaceful campaign, with eight rules to manage the behavior of protesters. But after they showed up in support of a demonstration in March and received little support, the organizers warned that Hongkongers would pay a high price for achieving democracy.

Protesters are to blame for the 'Occupy Central' chaos

Contradictions in their attitude were again evident this time. Having denied last Wednesday that they were gearing up for "Occupy", at around 1:30 am on Sunday they suddenly announced the start of the campaign. Tai said afterwards that "seeing people here even more crowded than in Mong Kok" was a good reason for launching 'Occupy'". But this just shows they took advantage of the emotional atmosphere to exaggerate the significance of "Occupy". In reality they want the situation to be as chaotic as possible.

As predicted and now revealed, once the movement started things got out of control. The campaign has even spread to Causeway Bay and Mong Kok - paralyzing transport on major roads in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and disrupting people's lives.

Despite warnings from numerous sections of society that "Occupy" would harm the prosperity and stability of the SAR, the organizers proceeded with their agenda. However, when asked for their opinions after the situation got out of control, Tai said the SAR government should take responsibility for the chaotic situation.

Now, this response is irresponsible in the extreme. Most people predicted the disorder that was to result. On the one hand, the "Occupy" organizers insisted in conducting a peaceful movement. On the other, they stirred up the anti-government, anti-police feelings of the "Occupiers". It was ridiculous when they pled innocence when the campaign descended into violence.

The police also condemned the "Occupy" campaign for the aggressive tactics employed by many protesters. I believe this is also clear to everyone, because from the live broadcasts it was evident that the police were restrained and well-disciplined. In the end, they were only called upon to resort to force, minimum force, after their warnings had been ignored by some protesters.

The police did their job in a law-abiding fashion - we could all see this. Therefore, it is unfair to condemn them for being violent with the students. I believe they acted professionally under great pressure.

Critics of the police should seriously consider what is best for our city - stability or chaos? They should stop criticizing the police for carrying out their duty according to the law.

The author is vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong.

(HK Edition 10/01/2014 page7)