Die-hard Hong Kong protesters defend tactics as unity cracks
Face-offs with police
Four hundred meters away, a line of riot police stood with full-length shields, batons and tear-gas launchers.
It was a familiar sight for Wayne after more than two months on the front lines of Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrations. Face-offs with police have become part of the 33-year-old philosophy professor's new normal.
Moment of reckoning
The movement has reached a moment of reckoning after protesters occupying Hong Kong's airport last week held two mainland Chinese men captive, beating them because they believed the men were infiltrating their movement.
Pro-democracy lawmakers and fellow demonstrators have questioned whether the operation had gone too far.
The demands grew from opposing legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited for trials in mainland China's murky judicial system to pressing for democratic elections, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's resignation and an investigation into allegations of police brutality at the demonstrations.
To Lam, these are ``violent rioters'' bent on destroying the city's economy. To China's ruling Communist Party, their actions are ``the first signs of terrorism.''
To the most die-hard protesters, there's no turning back.
``The situation has evolved into a war in Hong Kong society,'' said Tin, a 23-year-old front-line demonstrator. ``It's the protesters versus the police.''
"One country, two systems"
``I didn't think I would ever do this again,'' said Chong, who quit his job as an environmental consultant for the protests. ``But this time, society is waking up.''
Lam suspended the bill indefinitely the day before the second march, but it didn't mollify the protesters, who turned out in even greater numbers.
As their demands expanded, Lam offered dialogue but showed no signs of giving ground.
That's when hard-liners like Chong and Wayne became convinced that peaceful protest might not be enough.