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Hong Kong protesters dig in for summer of discontent

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 18, 2019 - Duration: 02:22s

Hong Kong protesters dig in for summer of discontent

Hong Kong's extradition bill demonstrations have mutated into a much bigger and more complex animal that has ripped open old wounds and expanded a political fight as the city battens down for a long, hot summer of protests.

Anna Bevan reports.

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Hong Kong protesters dig in for summer of discontent

Prepare for a long hot summer of protests in Hong Kong.

That's the warning from pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong.

He's joined millions in taking to these streets since June in Hong Kong's largest and most violent protests in decades.

But what started out as an angry response to a now-suspended extradition bill has mutated into a much more complex series of demands for everything from greater democracy to keeping mainland tourists out of Hong Kong.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST, JOSHUA WONG, SAYING: ''It's not the end game yet, it's the infinity war or even infinity battle until 2047.

So how can we uphold with the spirit and continue, I am still optimistic.'' The protesters have adopted a "be water" strategy, inspired by a maxim of the city's home-grown martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, which encourages them to be flexible or formless.

Some activists say it's a very different approach to the democracy demonstrations in 2014, when protesters occupied major roads in the city for 79 days.

For one thing, it allows people to spread their message across districts, rather than confine rallies to a specific zone.

The movement's fluidity makes it difficult to police.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST, JOSHUA WONG, SAYING: ''If we gather on street, and set up the tents and occupy for one month, two months or three months that's what we experienced five years ago.

When you sleep on Harcourt Road and how could you have enough energy to have any storming action, no matter you agree or disagree.'' Activists are mobilising supporters through a host of internet forums and messaging apps, And even taking out ads in international newspapers and petitioning diplomats to raise awareness among world leaders.

All of it is meant to complicate Beijing's diplomatic agenda.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST, JOSHUA WONG, SAYING: "It shows that collective decision-making process of activists and how they use Telegram, social media, online forum to have certain decision making." The next big protest is scheduled for Sunday (July 21).

With plenty more demonstrations planned in the weeks to come.

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