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A Kingston University alumni suffered a severe tear gas attack last week while participating in the Hong Kong “Occupy Central” movement.
Bimal Mirwani, a 21-year-old journalism graduate from KU, remained at the protest even after police forces attacked demonstrators with tear gas in central Hong Kong on September 28.
“It was chaos,” said Bimal Mirwani. “People were screaming and fleeing, but there were a few who just stood their ground and refused to move.
“Although I was initially shocked, I stood my ground because I wanted to show that neither tear gas, nor any other measure of the police, was going to stop me from fighting for the freedom of my country.”
According to the BBC, the “Occupy Central” movement, which has been largely run by students and young people, seeks the allowance of civil nominations for elections and the resignation of Hong Kong’s administrative region’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.
According to Bimal Mirwani, who currently works as a freelance writer, authorities unleashed over 87 canisters of tear gas on protesters after they were asked to move away from several government buildings.
Mirwani washed his eyes from the painful gas and then returned to shouting slogans such as “give me a genuine election,” and the “civil disobedience without fear.” “The police’s reaction was completely uncalled for,” said the freelance writer. “It was just over the top and the police had absolutely no right to do so.
“We [the protesters] were unarmed and peacefully fighting for the future of Hong Kong.”
The former KU student said that the majority of the protesters left after the tear gas attack, but the police’s actions backfired, as the following day an even greater number of protesters arrived, all prepared with gas masks and wet cloths.
Vincent Lam, a 20-year-old KU student native to Hong Kong, expressed concerns about the violence in the protests and believes that the movement will not “ do much ” for Hong Kong, because the future of the area will always be linked to China.
“The protests have gotten out of hand and people there don’t know what they are doing or why they are doing it,” said Vincent Lam. “I have friends who go to the protests as a means of ‘killing time’ rather than to fight for the cause.
“I have even seen videos of people fighting over each other and it is just a total mess.”
The computer- sciences student said he believes that the measures taken by the police in Hong Kong are not extreme and that they follow the typical guidelines for any protests in any country. “If the UK was faced with the same situation I know that the police would respond similarly,” he said. “The police are simply trying to maintain order.”
According to the Guardian the protests, which have been ongoing since September 26, have dwindled down by the thousands after the Chinese government canceled a negotiations meeting with the pro-democracy leaders of the protests on 9 October.
“The situation is best described in three words at the moment, ‘we want democracy’,” said Bimal Mirwani.