Close to two million people came together on Hong Kong’s streets on Sunday, in the largest march the city has ever seen.
Called unruly and riotous by the authorities, viral footage of the crowd parting to make way for an ambulance summarised the real ethos of the demonstration.
“Huge crowds [parted]. Like Moses crossing the Red Sea, giving way to the ambulance,” wrote the citizen who posted the video. “Hong Kong people are not thugs.”
“Disorder? Hardly,” wrote executive director of the Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, sharing the video.
A similar scene was visible in Palakkad, Kerala in March 2019, when a festive crowd jamming the street made way for an ambulance.
Meanwhile, protests continued through Sunday despite Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam indicating on Saturday night that the passage of the controversial Extradition Bill had been suspended and that the matter would not be taken up again this year.
The bill, which seeks to allow the extradition of dissenters in Hong Kong to China, was seen as draconian – a means to allow the Chinese government unmitigated control over dissent in Hong Kong.
Protestors marched along a marked path, demanding Lam’s resignation along with the release of arrested protestors.
Thousands of protestors sang, “Do you hear the people sing? / Singing the songs of angry men? / It is the music of the people / Who will not be slaves again!” – quoting a popular song from Les Misérables, which was the theme song of the city’s 2014 protests, as well.
Following Sunday’s continued protests and demands that she resign, Lam issued a rare apology admitting that “deficiencies” in the government’s work had led to “substantial controversies and disputes in society,” causing disappointment and grief for citizens of Hong Kong, reported CNN.
The sheer scale of the protest is evident in this time-lapse video.