Hong Kong protests: Pro-democracy vs anti-protest groups

Policemen cordon an area where pro-democracy demonstrators confronted anti-occupy protesters (not in picture) in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Oct 13, 2014. With pro-government and pro-democracy protestors now going head to head in Hong
Policemen cordon an area where pro-democracy demonstrators confronted anti-occupy protesters (not in picture) in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Oct 13, 2014. With pro-government and pro-democracy protestors now going head to head in Hong Kong, we take a look at the various groups involved in clashes there. -- PHOTO: AFP

With pro-government and pro-democracy protestors now going head to head in Hong Kong, we take a look at the various groups involved in clashes there.

PRO-DEMOCRACY CAMP

Occupy Central

The "Occupy Central with Love and Peace" campaign was started by law academic Benny Tai, civil society academic Chan Kin Man and Baptist pastor Chu Yiu Ming.

The movement organised a mock poll in June that saw nearly 800,000 Hong Kongers voting for their desired democratic model, in defiance of Beijing.

The movement is supported by many political parties in Hong Kong's pan-democratic camp.

Scholarism

The Scholarism activist group was started in 2011 by secondary school students, and is led by Joshua Wong who is 18.

The teen activist started the group to protest the planned introduction of national education that encouraged Chinese patriotism into the school curriculum. It spearheaded rallies outside the government headquarters in 2012 that forced Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to scrap the proposal.

On Sept 26, he urged students to storm the fenced-off Civic Square outside the government’s headquarters in the Admiralty district. His arrest was one of the triggers that spurred thousands more people on to the streets.

Hong Kong Federation of Students

The biggest student organisation in Hong Kong, it is made up of the student unions of eight tertiary education institutes.

The federation was formed in 1958 and has a history of activism. It organised demonstrations and class boycotts during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

It mobilised students to skip classes, with tertiary students commencing a one-week boycott from Sept 22 that was the seed of the current protest movement.

ANTI-PROTEST CAMP

Blue Ribbon Movement

Residents who want a stop to the protests, and return to normalcy have taken to wearing blue ribbons, in answer to the yellow ribbons used by pro-democracy activists.

They use the same blue as the police uniforms to signal their support for the police and the government. They have organised counter-protests and threatened to surround the protests sites.

The group was founded by parent Leticia Lee. A long-time member of the Parents Association, Ms Lee is known for her active lobbying actions in support of the establishment, such as the national education policy.

The coalition includes the pro-Beijing Voice of Loving Hong Kong, led by businessman Patrick Ko and Caring Hong Kong Power, led by Sum Chan.

Taxi drivers

Angry taxi drivers opposed to the protests, which have seriously affected their business, also rallied on Monday, barricading a road at Admiralty with 12 taxis.

“Democracy is very important but people’s livelihoods are also very important,” said Mr Chan Tak Keung, one of a group of angry taxi drivers Sunday.

Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union

Some 30 members of a local construction union marched to the rallying site in Admiralty on Sunday afternoon, challenging the students to end their protests.

Chairman Chow Luen Kiu said and some 4,000 construction workers’ jobs had been affected by traffic blockades.

Triads

Gang members are allegedly involved in heckling the protestors, with the Wo Shing Wo being named.  It is one of the most active gangs in Mong Kok.

Dozens of masked men rushed barricades at a main protest site on Monday, prompting accusations that authorities are using hired thugs to disperse demonstrators.

This followed clashes at Mong Kok a week ago, when more than 20 were arrested, eight of them with triad links.

Police are already investigating claims that 200 gangsters, believed to be from two major triads, had infiltrated the camps of pro-democracy protesters then.