#FishballRevolution. Hong Kong: Mongkok street vendors versus police

10 February 2016

The Guardian

Is Hong Kong really rioting over fishball stands?

Attempts to forcibly remove street food stands caused riots in Hong Kong on Monday. But there’s more to the #fishballrevolution than just snacks

The “fishball revolution” sounds like a joke, but when you look at the footage coming out of Hong Kong you realise it is anything but. Bloodied protesters, an injured policeman on the ground being attacked, warning shots fired in the air, 50 people arrested, almost 100 injured. Hong Kong specialises in wackily named quasi-uprisings – remember the Umbrella Movement of 2014? – but behind those curious names is an anger and alienation that pits the pro-Beijing government against a population, especially the young, who want western-style freedoms.

The fishball protests exploded on the streets of Mong Kok, the shopping heart of the Kowloon peninsula, at the start of Chinese New Year. The police had planned to close down the district’s unlicensed food stalls, which sell fishballs on skewers and other traditional Chinese snacks. The news leaked out, and protesters organised on social media ahead of the raids, and the standoff that resulted spilled over into violence as darkness closed in.

But why are young political activists willing to go to the wall for fishballs? “China has had really wonderful street food for at least 800 years, and it is part of the culture of Hong Kong,” says Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop, author of Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China. “It’s affordable and it’s fun. The street stalls are very much part of Hong Kong culture, but they’ve been disappearing as part of the process of redevelopment and urban renewal.”

For Hong Kong-born restaurateur Alan Yau, founder of Hakkasan and the Wagamama chain, the fishball has two meanings: “It is the quintessential Hong Kong street food and – culturally – it represents the Hong Kong working class like no other institutions can. Street food, and the fishball represent the values of entrepreneurship. Of capitalism. Of liberal democracy…”

The battle against gentrification has been added to the stew of protests against a government that, while officially autonomous, is reliant on Beijing. On Hong Kong island to the south, that battle has already been lost, with office blocks and swish apartments replacing the old way of life. But Mong Kok, with its narrow, congested streets and famous markets, has so far resisted the bulldozers.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2016/feb/09/hong-kong-fish-ball-revolution-china-riot?CMP=twt_gu

Hong Kong New Year Celebration Peaceful in Wake of Bloody Riots via

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◤頭條新聞◢
更新:94人傷 捕54人
http://www.chinapress.com.my/?p=576343
‪#‎今日中國報‬

◤ headlines ◢
Date: 94 people arrested people were injured.
http://www.chinapress.com.my/?p=576343
‪#‎Today‬ China press

(香港9日綜合電)香港旺角大年初一深夜發生暴亂…
chinapress.com.my

Hong Kong Lunar New Year celebrations erupt in violence

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9 February 2016

Trouble started on Monday night over attempted clearance of some street vendors by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials.

http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1241222-20160209.htm

The hawkers are back in business on Portland Street. There’re almost as many fish balls as there’re reporters.

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Yesterday night’s battlefield

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People keen to support the hawkers. Almost constant trade with this guy.

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54 arrested in clashes may be charged for participating in riot: HK police chief

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo on Tuesday (Feb 9) defended the officer who fired the warning revolver shots after a riot erupted when officials tried to shift illegal hawkers, saying rioters were continuously attacking his already injured colleague.

Footage showed protesters levering up bricks from pavements in the busy Mong Kok district, charging police lines with home-made shields and setting rubbish on fire in the middle of the road.

One officer was seen pointing his gun at crowds who hurled bricks, bottles and pieces of wooden pallets at police.

Police fired at least two warning shots in the air, multiple news outlets reported, a very rare occurrence in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city.

“With no alternative, his police colleague used his firearm in accordance with the use of force principles to prevent his fellow colleague from being further attacked,” Lo said, adding there would be a full investigation.

Police said 54 protesters aged between 15-70 were arrested for assaulting police, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in a public place, among others offences.

“We will consider charging the arrested persons for participating in a riot,” Lo said. This carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

‘FISHBALL REVOLUTION’

Social media has dubbed the street battles that erupted after officials tried to move illegal food hawkers as the “fishball revolution”.

Demonstrators, including members of radical “localist” groups which stress Hong Kong’s separate identity from the mainland, tried to defend the hawkers whom they say add to the festive atmosphere.

“We have noticed a shift in some members of the public,” said Lo Wai-chung. “(They) have an inclination to use violence or radical acts in order to express their opinion.”

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/officer-fired-warning/2500616.html?cid=twtcna

: The moment the 1st warning shot is fired by riot police

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DimSumGraphics police inaction over missing booksellers; in full force vs food vendors

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    ” data-screen-name=”LibertyGolfMY” data-permalink-path=”/LibertyGolfMY/status/696936711595622400″ data-disclosure-type=”” data-tweet-id=”696936711595622400″> and 20 others follow

: Hong Kong’s social media users react to Mong Kok hawker protest

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just in case you thought it was only angry HKongers throwing bricks last night, here’s a copper

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Some shops in Mong Kok open after clashes between hawkers and police (Pics: )

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Hong Kong riot police clash with protesters amid crackdown on street vendors

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Notice: Hong Kong police fire warning shots during Mong Kok clashes … …

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Hong Kong’s riot injures 48 police (Reuters pics)

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Hongkong: Strassenschlachten in Hong Kong

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44 officers injured, 28 arrested after protests in Mong Kok, Hong Kong; lock down continues in areas – RTHK News

Some areas of of turbulence-hit Mong Kok continued to be in a police lock down as a tense calm descended on the streets where clashes took place between police and protesters.

Trouble started on Monday night over attempted clearance of some street vendors by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials.

Police used pepper spray and at least two warning shots were fired in the air during the tense standoff. Some roads in the area still remain closed by 9am on Tuesday. But most of the areas have been cleared of protesters. Photos circulating on social media showed debris strewn around and some small fires burning.

The pitched street battle erupted after a standoff as officials tried to shift illegal hawkers from a section of Portland Street between Shangtung Street and Nelson Street. Police said they used batons and pepper spray after a crowd ignored calls to disperse, but continued to block traffic.

Police said 28 people were arrested and 44 officers were injured. Police said in a statement that they would not tolerate any behaviour that breaks law and order and urged people not to go to Mong Kok.

http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1241222-20160209.htm

Mong Kok New Year riot sees Hong Kong Indigenous leader in the eye of the storm

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police ‘fire warning shots’ in street clash

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thanks the elite police force for making our street safe during this Chinese New Year

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Hong Kong Police Fired Two Warning Shots In Clash With Localist On Hawker Issue In Lunar New Year

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Police bikes laughing, redirecting traffic, while in the back another hawker arrives. Victory for Hong Kong for now.

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Photos showing officer down after gunshots at Hong Kong protest

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