Sunday, December 11, 2005

"anarchists and koreans"...

Here's the link to a good story up at ZNET by Puck Lo on the protest hype that is occuring in Hong Kong over the specter of protests to come. Seems that there is a little inter-group demonization going on, in which police have spread paranoia of visiting "anarchists and koreans," with some protest groups echoing the police line and dismissing any tactics that could be construed as against the law -- such as blocking traffic or linking arms. Here's and excerpt:
Elizabeth Tang, a spokesperson for HPKA, has said that she understands that police have a job to do in making the WTO meeting a “safe event.” In her words: “If people are not genuine in this and want to use violence, then the police have a right to stop it.'Tang told reporters that she attended the Seattle WTO demonstrations in 1999 and that the “violent,” “radical actions” of some groups have marred the image of all protesters.“I'm really afraid that, in December, I'll go out in the street and be beaten up by the police, because some people will spoil the optimism and good mood that is so often associated with Hong Kong marches,' she continued.HPKA has appointed “marshals” to keep order during the protests. The marshals are told to isolate any group or person whose actions can be construed as potentially breaking any law or just seeming unruly. Many activists—both local organizers and those from abroad—absolutely disagree with Tang’s stance. Some express that the position that Tang is taking creates a false dichotomy where “tactics are then either legitimized by the government and completely ineffective in getting across anything beyond a most abstract message,’ or else if they are creative in any way then they are criminalized as being ‘violent’—even if it’s just a situation of people sitting in a road, linking arms. Then those people are left vulnerable to police attack since the others will be told: ‘They’re not legitimate, don’t support them.’”

I think Lo makes a good point here. The violence at the Seattle WTO started hours earlier than any anarchist actions and largely consisted of police violence against people locking arms. The non-violent shutdown of the city began at 5:30 am, and the anarchist reclaim the streets action, which later turned into the window breaking so feared by the media began at 11:11. Yet tear gas began around 7:30 am, hours earlier than anything resembling riot, with police shooting the stuff into nonviolent crowds for hours until windows began to break which could be used post facto as an excuse for the police violence. Yet, the next day, some progressive groups like global exchange and others blamed it on anarchist provacateurs, directly legitimizing the police line and demonizing other protestors indirectly, the vast majority of whom where simply blocking a road or holding hands.

Lo's article also has some links to other protest groups on the ground in Hong Kong which are quite useful. Also, here's a blog by a korean american group in Hong Kong to support the protests. Kotaji also has some recent Korean social movement news up on his site, including a good piece on recent protests there against base expansion.

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