Saturday, December 17
Everyone from our delegation is OK. About half the SF delegation was involved in the CD. As of now about 900 of the farmers are still in jail (Actually, this was written almost 2 days ago now -- all have bene released except for about 10 who are being held; most are korean but they also include a mainland Chinese, a Taiwanese, and a Japanese).
Here are photos from last night’s stand offs. The main march started at 5 pm or so. We knew that this was going to happen, and that the farmers were planning to get arrested and via campesina (farmers from all over the rest of the world; the green bandanas) was going to support.
On the TV, there are Hong Kong people saying they are ashamed of the police, that they would treat farmers this way. Tear gas, water cannons, pepper spray, indiscriminate. One man is crying, his hair is wet. All around the riot cops look like … well,
The farmers – the Korean farmers – were planning on storming the convention centre. If any agreement was going to be signed, they wanted to stop it.
The police are warning “Hong Kong people” to stay away from Victoria Park and away from any activities. There is still a planned rally and maybe a march for this afternoon.
The bridge was swarming with Hong Kong people and people from everywhere last night. It was quiet, peaceful, carnaval like, everyone in the street, a street fair. Some of the Korean farmers broke through about 3 lines of the barricades … we saw them running around behind the police lines. Then the police started to make a push towards the people – we packed the overpass almost all the way to the other side, all the pedestrian bridges were full of people and students who had just come to look, and media cameras, young lovers holding hands, and also all the main marchers were underneath the overpass, on the main roads. We were not far, the convention centre’s been in sight all week. 2 blocks or so. The drummers going, singers, Delegates from inside the convention centre came out to make statements as well.
On the way out of Victoria Park last night after debriefing with the other delegations, the police surrounded the park and revoked the permit for the dance that was going on. We left, in small groups of 2 or 3, the main stations were closed, we had to take a diversion route to a different MTR station. They closed the tunnel (the equivalent of closing down the Bay bridge). On the way out, our two groups of three were met by 2 lines of riot cops.
Craziness: W taking out her contacts full of tear gas using the tiny mirrors on the bag that S gave me from Gujarat. Two blocks down from all the tear gas and batons and Korean farmers breaking through wooden barricades and using the support poles as weapons against the cops’ batons, pepper spray and riot shields we saw: night market, food stalls, shopping. Shopping is like the local main activity. And eating. The police closed down the area and shut down the businesses and two of the MTR stations.