HONG KONG — Almost hidden among the throngs of demonstrators who marched in Hong Kong on Sunday was one woman who crawled, literally on hands and knees on the rough road surface — an apt metaphor for the arduous path traveled by Hong Kong’s protest movement in the past six months.
Dragging bricks and empty soda cans on pieces of string behind her, the woman elicited shouts of encouragement from fellow protesters. “Go for it!” they yelled.
“Her performance art is about the difficulty, or the repetitiveness, of demonstrations,” said one of her friends, who walked alongside and identified herself by her surname, Chan. “This is really a long-term struggle.”
And one that shows few, if any, signs of flagging.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators crammed into Hong Kong’s streets, their chants echoing off high-rises, in a mass show of support for the protest movement entering its seventh month.
Chanting “Fight for freedom” and “Stand with Hong Kong,” the sea of protesters formed a huge human snake winding for blocks on Hong Kong Island, from the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Central business zone, a distance of more than a mile. It was one of the biggest rallies in months, and remarkably peaceful.
Crowds were so large and dense that the march ground to a standstill at times. Protesters spilled into narrow side streets, crying “Revolution in our times.” Organizers said 800,000 people participated, while police had no immediate estimate.
The demonstrator who crawled part of the route wouldn’t give her name. But her protest turned heads, gave pause for thought and raised the question: How much longer can Hong Kong keep up its push to preserve its freedoms that make it unique in China?
Marchers held up five fingers to press the movement’s five demands. They include democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leader and legislature and a demand for a probe of police behavior during the months of protests.