Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 13, 20 October 2019

Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
Harini Madhusudan

 

What happened? 

A homemade bomb was detonated for the first time during the months of protests. There are clear indications of an escalation of the rift between the protesters and the police at the street level. Suryanto Chin-Chiu, a superintendent of the Hong Kong police's explosives disposal unit, said at a news conference, that the device was hidden in a bush and was triggered using a mobile phone near Mong Kok district of Kowloon. 

A group of moderates have been voicing out that the violent turn of events may jeopardize the support to the pro-democracy movement, both at home and overseas. The pro-democracy legislators repeatedly hackled Carrie Lam for two consecutive days, after which the Legislative Council meeting was adjourned. Lam's policy speech at the Council, her chance at winning back the hearts of the people after four months of protests, became a point of criticism. For the detractors, it is offering little as a substantive political solution. 

What is the background?

The protests in Hong Kong have entered the fourth month, and there seems to be no end in sight for a solution or an end to it. There is a clear divide within in using violence as a means. There is fear among the moderates that the government in Hong Kong may use the violence as an excuse to postpone the local elections that are scheduled in November. 

At the Legislative Council meeting, Carrie Lam focused on the economic aspects. She promised increased housing and land supply; un-attractive offer in a city that has the least affordable property markets. When it came to political concessions and the demands by the protesters, she said, progress can be made only when the protests end. Both Cam and Beijing have held that Hong Kong's freedoms are being protected and have dismissed the demands of the protesters.

What does it mean?

The first sign of frustrations among the protesters, against their own and visibility of the divide among the protesters, is a sign that the protests are entering an important phase. Several reports and surveys show that youngsters who are willing to fight on the streets and willing to face the bullets at the frontline do not have their family support. The protesters seem to have disagreements on the level of violence that needs to be used. The protests could fall apart, If Beijing and Lam were to wait it out a few more weeks. 

However, the failure of Carrie Lam's government to grab the attention of their citizens during the speech at the Legislative Council is an indication that none of them knows what to do at this point. 

Harini Madhusudan is currently pursuing Ph.D. at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. She can be reached at harinimadhusudan@gmail.com

July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal

January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings

December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar