A member of a small cell of frontline protesters -- one of the many who have fought riot police across Hong Kong during the past six months of anti-government unrest -- his job was handling logistics and keeping an eye on police movements. Often, he says he would hang back to help make sure equipment was getting to those at the front, helmets and masks passed from person to person in a massive human chain through the protest lines, or to ensure that there was a clear path of retreat for when the police inevitably charged.
On that day in August, amid pouring rain that had hampered police officers’ use of tear gas, Ivan was heading back to the van his protest cell was using to transport supplies. It was only a couple of blocks away, but as he jogged over, he turned onto a side street and suddenly found himself facing a new line of protesters that had splintered off from the main group. Looking behind, he saw a corresponding line of heavily-armed riot police, with a red warning banner held up over their heads.