FROM HK TO THE US: SOLIDARITY AMONG PROTESTERS

MANAGING EDITOR SENAY EMMANUEL WRITES — From Minneapolis to Miami, Boston to Berlin, and even as far as Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the world is expressing its dismay and revulsion at the seemingly lawless and brutal nature of American police. The senseless murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by Minneapolis and Louisville police respectively have sparked tremendous outrage across the world. Even the Chinese and Iranian governments, which are also guilty of perpetuating police brutality, have echoed these same sentiments of American protesters, welcoming the eroding of moral authority once beamed by the United States onto the world stage.

Across the Pacific Ocean, the Hong Kong protesters are continuing to show defiance 14 months after their start. In a show of solidarity and camaraderie, many of the front-line protesters have shared many of their strategies and tips for successful protest with their American counterparts.

Many Americans are incorporating tactics from Hong Kong, such as the use of umbrellas to repel pepper spray, utilizing traffic cones to diffuse tear gas canisters, and creating a baking soda and water formula to neutralize the effects of tear gas on the face and eyes.

Both American and Hong Kong demonstrators are facing heavily militarized and organized police and armed forces. The National Guard, a reserve component of the US military, has been called to at least 21 states, along with Washington D.C., to support local police, but many are worried that bringing in the National Guard will only fuel violence. Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson argues that “additional law enforcement will only further violence against people of color.”

Councilman Harris-Dawson’s fears could well be applied, and have been borne out, by protests almost 12,000 km away. In Hong Kong, this brutality of the police is easily seen in videos of riot police running amok that spread throughout social media. As Hong Kong police increase their use of force to combat anti-government protests, they are met by protesters whose anger escalates, which in turn further fuels the combativeness of the police, leading to a constant (and never ending) cycle of escalation and violence.

The United States has a racism problem and a police brutality problem. Many of the mistakes the Hong Kong government has made in addressing the HK protesters are being repeated by American authorities. On the other hand, the two groups of civilian protesters have sought advice from one another to protect themselves from the violence exerted by their respective police.

Despite the distance, culture, and cause separating them, people on the streets of America and Hong Kong who are fighting for a better future are connecting with one another to further their respective causes.

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