These Insane Photos Show What the Hell Is Happening in Hong Kong

Teargas and pepper spray aren’t silencing protesters’ calls for greater autonomy. What’s next?


Hong Kong riot police fire teargas at protesters early on Monday, September 29. Wally Santana/AP
 

Hong Kong—usually an orderly finance haven—erupted over the weekend as police used teargas and pepper spray to break up a three-day student sit-in that occupied the central business district. Thousands of protesters have deployed umbrellas to protect themselves from the chemical attack—some people are dubbing it the Umbrella Revolution—and have even picked up the hands-up “don’t shoot” gesture from protests in Ferguson, Missouri

The protests were the culmination of a campaign organized last year by the student group “Occupy Central,” calling for free elections and more autonomy for Hong Kong, which is controlled by the Communist Party in Beijing.

At issue are assurances China made to Hong Kong when it took the reins back from Britain in 1997. Under the so-called “one country, two systems” deal, Hong Kong was allowed to keep its common-law system and enjoy greater rights than those on the mainland (where news of the protests has been aggressively censored). By 2017, Hong Kong residents hoped they would be able to elect their own chief executive—the top representative of their so-called Special Administrative Region. But now, China appears to be reneging on the spirit of its deal. President Xi Jinping has firmly rejected open nominations for candidates, and says they will continue to be vetted by a central committee in Beijing.

The government’s crackdown has been unsuccessful in dispersing the protesters, who are still out on the streets—and solidarity marches are taking place in cities around the world, including Ferguson. Here’s a wrap-up of photos from the weekend.

Police pepper spray activists who forced their way into the government headquarters on Saturday. Apple Daily/AP
 

Protesters block a police bus on one of Hong Kong’s major thoroughfares. Vicnent Yu/AP
 

Students are using improvised defenses against teargas and pepper spray. Wong Maye-E/AP
 

Riot police face down protesters. Kyodo/AP
 

The student-led demonstrations expanded throughout Hong Kong on Monday. Wong Maye-E/AP
 

Umbrellas. So many umbrellas. Wong Maye-E/AP
 

A pro-democracy protester refuels in the city’s Mongkok district on Monday. Vicent Yu/AP
 

Protesters flood the central financial district on Sunday. Vincent Yu/AP
 

Here’s why the umbrellas. Vincent Yu/AP