As Hong Kong woke up after a night of unprecedented drama, the city was divided on whether protesters who stormed and vandalised the city’s legislature had gone too far in their quest to make their voices heard. Anti-government and anti-police graffiti still adorned pillars and walls as police stood guard while legislators attempted to go about their day.
Two main narratives were emerging after the ransacking of the legislature: one that spoke of hopelessness in the face of semi-authoritarian rule, and another that condemned the destruction of property. Pro-democracy figures placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of leader Carrie Lam, saying a government that only listens to a pro-Beijing party had driven young people to desperation.
“The protesters who broke into the Legislative Council complex were not rioters. They were not violent,” said activist Joshua Wong, jailed for two months after the 2014 umbrella protests. “They wanted to make the regime hear Hong Kongers’ voice, and they had no other option.