fredag 23. august 2019

'We must defend our city': A day in the life of a Hong Kong protester

It is noon on a muggy August day in Hong Kong. Patrick Wong*, 20, has just eaten a breakfast of instant noodles and vegetables with his parents at a nearby cha chaan teng, an old-school local diner. Now he is preparing for another long Sunday on the streets. He is packing a black T-shirt, a yellow helmet, and a pair of goggles that can withstand 0.22-calibre bullets. He hopes for a peaceful march, as organisers and protesters have planned, but he is preparing for the worst.

He stashes a bottle of saline solution to wash tear gas or pepper spray from his eyes. He has been hit by both in past protests. “We don’t know what could happen,” he says.

In June, Wong took part in mass demonstrations against a bill that would allow extradition to China. Like many other Hongkongers, he has been to every major rally since – at times on the front lines, facing off against riot police or further back, where he helps ferry supplies to the “fighters” at the front.