Umbrellas Up: U. Washington Students Support Hong Kong Protests

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Seattle’s skies were clear on Wednesday night, but the University of Washington’s Red Square was a sea of umbrellas.

On the same day that Hong Kong’s history-making protests reached their highest numbers yet, over 250 students and community members gathered at UW to speak about Hong Kong’s protests, police brutality, and the meaning of “true” democracy.

Along with crowds in dozens of cities worldwide, they were standing in solidarity with the “umbrella revolution,” young Hong Kong’s standoff with the central Chinese government. The unprecedented protests started as a reaction to Beijing’s plans for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which are at odds with previous promises for a fully democratic vote.

When Hong Kong police reacted to peaceful protesters with violence and pepper spray on Sunday, the fifth day of the protests, the movement gained its trademark symbol: the umbrella, used to ward off pepper spray and symbolize the central Chinese government’s overarching “umbrella” of power.
Seattle’s skies were clear on Wednesday night, but the University of Washington’s Red Square was a sea of umbrellas.

On the same day that Hong Kong’s history-making protests reached their highest numbers yet, over 250 students and community members gathered at UW to speak about Hong Kong’s protests, police brutality, and the meaning of “true” democracy.

Along with crowds in dozens of cities worldwide, they were standing in solidarity with the “umbrella revolution,” young Hong Kong’s standoff with the central Chinese government. The unprecedented protests started as a reaction to Beijing’s plans for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which are at odds with previous promises for a fully democratic vote.

When Hong Kong police reacted to peaceful protesters with violence and pepper spray on Sunday, the fifth day of the protests, the movement gained its trademark symbol: the umbrella, used to ward off pepper spray and symbolize the central Chinese government’s overarching “umbrella” of power.