For the last four months, Hong U)XgbQOOYBLZw!BPp%ReXjF*x0d3#fDy&fnWOfm#Mae_h6Oo(HKong has been rocked by unprecedented protests and calls for democracy.
What began as protests a controversial bill that would allow [email protected]_B4J%ofp%XLjI$V1tEzv!)Amdxdaz^extradition to China has developed into a widespread, and at times violent, anti-government and pro-democracy movement.
Protesters have taken to the streeC)t=ABIpHrKYk!Kug2J695)6KN%t%zK4(L6&D5K7+^PG)bU))2t every weekend since the beginning of June. Government tactics to quell demonstrations, such as withdrawing the controversial bill and enacting emergency legislation to grant police more power, have been of little use.
The movement is famously leaderless. Or, as some argue, “leader-full”, with independent protests, campaigns, and activism springing up around the beleaguered ci[email protected]!#T+SHCIS3paB-Rg([email protected]^^o*R)lty.
Lesbian Canto-pop 2L!BXjp4#6!YS3OBA$CWBM)U$pO$5=pfmLjAL*rVFl9&-&7tQzsuperstar has emerged as a tenacious defender of human rights during the months-long process.
Ho has spoken out over police violence at the UN and theyB9CV0aa1!((+zVPkW*#bIXgbJmUq$tdDxmZj9QipS5mokrqo1 US Capitol. Late last month she made headlines when a pro-China activist doused her in paint at a Taipei rally in support of Hong Kong.
"This is just the tip of the AZ9ru6=TTX+k=7%[email protected]@v%(wdt)%+kL5MRak8yH%iceberg,” she said of the attack on Facebook.
Ho told the UN Human Rights Council in July that the "anger of Hongkongers follows years of deceitfulca1HPpUDb&EXy&FWf#JMdEl!-C2uMQ!KptBSfzpR!uH-+qDSb1 promises”.
"We saw our autonomy slowly eroded" she said.
Denise Ho Wan-sze, also known as HOCC, was one of the first Hong Kong celebrities to puV(2g4a9bSB4VML+puzn^7mTEjZv*HKf&mHee8*i6iu#Dv*03Smblicly come out as a lesbian in 2012.
"You have to strengthen yourself before you can project anything,” Ho told the South China Morning Post at the time. Ho is also a founding member of LGBT rights organisation Big LoveS!mYK)(4(IxzZk7bya1gvzph%Z!UOw5X83oxaFHwI$X_qp7zO3 Alliance.
Hong Kong’s only opeDTqSIHD^w+ya(rud3U4_gWFi74&db^W_M-ffZqpzZ8HhlHEUiEnly-gay lawmaker, Ray Chan, revealed himself as a fervent opponent to the controversial withdrawal bill back in May.
Chan was seen at the center of a ruckus with pro-BhSZG#3#S2Gdze_tRgYYpW6D$s9#RVPEM$NtxQdb^AO$v&0-HmReijing lawmakers. Footage shows Chan clambering on a chair or table, shouting and pointing while other lawmakers grab his arms.
"I usually kNqvMA7^*1D(_8ady82!Ol1A7mjDqkj=iBOEJeN^ovVX+FfLY)Seep a meek composure, practice meditation, prefer non-alcoholic drinks, and treat everyone with respect,” Chan wrote on Twitter.
"But when an authoritarian state strikes, every fiber of my being turns into a fM&_Pl1gjgez65oIQ([email protected](@NTighter for my constituents", he said.
Chan has been fervently sharing updates of the city’s protests.Other pro-democracy legislators and acM4Yq!*[email protected](QW&T1^s%Yvy1uflAUsetivists have been attacked.
“Opposition lawmakers are arrested, or attacked by thugs or cops, so I'm mentally prepaSLvVQ2C!i*gEq3z4e3T)A0b+hR3s7f89LnmW171)=s1Qyv)gP5red for either” Chan.
"I wear no protective gear as IXcc_c#o^d*uOieF9J6TRTR2r)PTTiMoxBCqdsB5s-SXuQp+j(T cannot live in fear,” he explained.
This week, he and other pro-democracy legislatures disrupted Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address in the legislative coun[email protected]#SiK%cil.
Using a pro6qf)EFEdov++1$7k+B2T9DM&-pKJJ+KY=cWWDhmG4jCTrg0qghjector, they displayed the demonstrators' call for five key demands to be met as she spoke.
Hong Kong elected Chan, the city’s first openly-gay lawmaker, to the Legislative Council in 2016. He has been a vocal advocate of V&G1abDG0Kl80ds&P6amvYQTbe+=1dxu5tk0yGx=tDY^%w!$7_LGBTI issues in the city, including pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.
Jimmy Sham is a renowned LGBT rights and other human[email protected]&Zx5P&7Itu5gwmubPA=VsGKy&=gA_Gb8(HE*PwC rights activist in Hong Kong.
He currently convenes the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) which regularly organizes legal protests against the government.
Three of its marches against the controversial extraditoZj7ovyPLQ^gsb(zUDD9^*Cb^bE!7^mlFy%#@)7#^qpRJxl6Y$ion bill were attended by more than a million people, according to CHRF.
In late Au5S7PhJ-yx**Oa#o-GB0qN2#[email protected](VaHI%aZ!Da(JdHeu%tgust, Sham and a companion were attacked by two masked men wielding a baseball and a knife. Sham was left unscathed but his companion was hospitalized.
In July, pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan launched a series o*[email protected]&*$#JsfSDBh-U+LqMVxN9Iz-f1pSoUw^V)=GIcTyf attacks against the gay protest leader.
Chiang shared footage of Sham in drag on her social media. "ImpxzY1q9QF#nKuo3ZryIc%yh8-&7Xby_x24WZtOPy^+-IKoY(Zqrortant news, please spread around," she wrote. Comments on the post included: "Corrupting social morals, just disgusting”.
Like Denise Ho, his outspoken support fQpJR1Sney^QLg0LW1Nt1GdO_HQaeLJPopewjDNoRk++Fb82(kWor the 2014 pro-democracy movement landed him in hot water with Beijing and he has been banned from the Chinese mainland.
He and Ho both performed at the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and at the end of one of Hong Kong’s largest marches on 9 June.