[imagesource: Laurel White/ Twitter]
Last year, when China started to encroach on the freedoms that Hong Kong residents enjoy, millions took to the street in protest.
For weeks we saw videos of violent retaliation from police at both peaceful protests and militant protests, as the people of Hong Kong fought to keep their democracy intact.
So what does this have to do with the current mass action in America?
The death of George Floyd, one of the multitudes of black Americans killed during incidents of racial profiling and police brutality over the years, has inspired protests and riots in the US as citizens call for accountability and an end to racially motivated violence.
Donald Trump, or ‘Bunker Boy’, as he has come to be known, has encouraged law enforcement to use force to disperse protesters.
In response to this, protesters are drawing on the tactics of Hong Kong protesters to fight back.
Over to VICE:
As a tear gas canister lands amid the chaos of a protest, a team descends on the device to cover it with a traffic cone to contain the smoke. Another group of activists douses it with water from a bottle.
It’s a well-drilled technique that’s become familiar to millions around the world through widely-shared online clips of its use in the Hong Kong protests. But this isn’t a scene from Hong Kong — it’s Portland, Oregon.
Leaf blowers have been spotted in Detroit, where they’re used to blow away tear gas:
One Detroit protester brought a leaf blower, saying it’s to blow back tear gas, in case there’s any pic.twitter.com/tem9A1P92U
— Eva Dou (@evadou) May 31, 2020
They’ve also been spotted in Kansas, Missouri:
A protestor in Kansas City, MO decided to fight tear gas with a leaf blower.
— Josh Chavis (@JoshChavis65) June 1, 2020
No leaf blowers were necessary at this protest, where police failed to take wind direction into account when tear-gassing protesters:
Congratulations – you played yourself.
High-powered laser pointers are also being used to distract and disorient police – another tip from Hong Kong:
IF YALL ARE GOING OUT TO WHATEVER PROTEST BRING THE STRONGEST LASER POINTER YOU CAN FIND pic.twitter.com/v1jP9jyM0N
— Charlie dont surf (@nates_motel) May 30, 2020
This tactic has been discouraged because police are mistaking it for a gun with a laser scope and turning their weapons on the crowd.
The adoption of familiar tactics on American streets has been a topic of conversation on boards like LIHKG, an online hub for discussion about Hong Kong’s protest movement. One protester, who did not want to be named, said commenters had pointed out that some of the tactics associated with the city’s protests — such as using tennis racquets to hit tear gas grenades back toward police — had been used first in earlier French protests.
Hong Kongers have expressed their support for the protests, which continue amidst police brutality, while Trump hops around between religious statues and churches pretending that he has everything under control.
With protests and unrest continuing, it’s clear America does not.
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