Photographer: Ivan Abreu
Title: Hong Kong, Times of Dissent
Location: Hong. Kong
Period: 06/2019 - 06/2020
Category: Spot News

2019 marked a turning point in Hong Kong’s history. A proposal for an amendment of an extradition law by the Hong Kong government sparked a series of mass demonstrations.

The effects of the pro-democracy movement, the anti-Beijing sentiment and the increased social engagement may change the cities political future. The many demonstrations led to violent clashes between protesters and police, thousands of arrests, broken families, a damaged image of the police force and what seems to be an irreconcilable generational conflict.

Besides, the governments’ inapt reaction resulted in a loss of the credibility of the city’s political elite, indicating that the social unrest may continue for some time.

After months of unrest and violent clashes between groups of pro-democracy protesters and the Hong Kong police in 2019, 2020 marked a new reality for the population of the Chinese Special Administrative Region.

The year started with massive demonstrations occupying the streets, evidencing that the political turbulence would be again part of the city’s daily life.

Rallies, protests and fash-mobs continued to emerge daily during the first months of 2020 in an attempt of Hong Kong’s people to manifest a clear resistance to Beijing's tightening grip.

In retaliation to the events and dissent, the Chinese central government approved on 30 June during the National People's Congress an unpopular National Security Law for Hong Kong, imposing a series of measures that criminalises political activities and that led to the arreste of pro-democracy activists and politicians.

As a result, businesses that supported the movement changed their profiles, removed pro-democracy posters and social media posts. Hongkongers began looking for ways to leave the city, feeling that the law would fundamentally damage their rights of expression and freedom. 

These pictures were taken during some of the main protests, clashes, rallies and assemblies that culminated on this new situation were the Chinese government puts a muzzle on the pro-democracy camp - between June 2019 and June 2020.

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 1

A woman holds a yellow umbrella surrounded by other protesters attending a rally at Tamar Park Demonstrations continue in Hong Kong in another night of protests during the commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Umbrella Movement at Tamar Park

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 2

Riot police blocks part of the promenade on Victoria Harbour Central during clashes Clashes between Hong Kong s riot police and young protesters erupted during the Anti-Extradition Law to China demonstrations on June 12th 2019

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 3

A group of front-liners ready to face riot police with improvised shields Protesters clashed with the Hong Kong police at the end of the Civil Human Rights Front march on July 27th

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 4

Protesters flash laser lights on a police helicopter during a rally at Tamar Park on September 28th Demonstrations continue in Hong Kong in another night of protests during the commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Umbrella Movement at Tamar Park

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 5

Riot police officer shows a warning banner about teargas during the protests Protesters continue to demonstrate across in Hong Kong s Yuen Long district against the government on September 21st 2019

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 6

Riot police fires teargas into alleys of Causeway Bay during the demonstrations against Hong Kong s government despite the withdrawal by Chief Executive Carrie Lam of a controversial extradition bill Protests keep taking the streets as demonstrators demands the city s government to attend to their demands including an independent inquiry into police brutality the retraction of the word riot to describe the rallies and the right for Hong Kong people to vote for their own leaders

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 7

A young female protester gets hit by beanbag bullet and receives medical care after clashes during the demonstrations in Nathan Road Tsim Sha Tsui on August 11th The protester was seriously wounded and lost the vision of one eye

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 8

Protesters throw molotov cocktails at riot police at one of the bridges to Polytechnic University blocked by barricades on November 17th 2019 br br Hong Kong police surrounded the campus during days siege and fierce clashes Clashes between protesters and riot police continued to erupt around Polytechnic University throughout the weekend Police used water cannon fired teargas and rubber bullets while protesters responded with petrol bombs and bricks Most of the fighting concentrated at the intersection in front of the schools main entrance

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 9

Riot police arrest a protester in Admiralty during a demonstration on Sep 29th Protesters attend a Global Anti-Totalitarianism March in Hong Kong and demonstrations continue in many districts marking one of the worst days of violence in 4 months of unrest

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 10

Protesters and a passenger fight inside MTR wagon during the protests that led to clashes inside a shopping mall in the Sha Tin district of Hong Kong on July 14th

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 11

Riot police pepper spray and clash with a group of mediators during demonstration against the national security draft bill Hong Kong police fired teargas and pepper spray on demonstrators after thousands take to the streets in protest against Beijing s declaration that it intends to impose national security laws on May 24th 2020

Hong Kong, Times of Dissent 12

Protesters sleep laying on the asphalt in front of Hong Kong Legislative Council building during a weekend of demonstrations against the extradition law to China on July 1st 2019