Can an umbrella be used as a tool to fight for democracy? Absolutely. In Hong Kong, peaceful demonstrators demanding genuine democratic elections are using umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray and tear gas and to to keep them from getting wet if the police deploys water cannons.
A striking image taken during the massive sit-in near government headquarters on September 28 showed crowds upon crowds of protesters holding umbrellas in a variety of colors, contrasting sharply with the police's riot gear.
Foreign media have dubbed the peaceful protest the “umbrella revolution”. The Facebook group “Hong Kong Democracy Now” rectified the title to “Umbrella Movement” and wrote a explanatory note on it:
Foreign media has titled this movement the “Umbrella Revolution.” This is hardly a revolution. “Umbrella Movement” is a more suitable title in this context.
The only “weapons” we have, at most, are the umbrellas we always carry in our bags for the unpredictable weather. Hongkongers wish for nothing but stability. However, as much as we cannot see through the cloudy skies, we do not wish to be stormed upon.
“Umbrella Movement” represents a mellow but determined campaign: In the face of gale and storm, we will never back down!
The sit-in, called Occupy Central, demands that Beijing withdraw the framework it has imposed on the election of Hong Kong's top leader, called the chief executive, which requires those who want to run for the office to get majority support from a nominating committee stacked with pro-Beijing (and therefore pro-Chinese Communist Party) members. The sit-in protests spread from the financial district in Admiralty to the commercial district in Causeway Bay and Mongkok. Traffic in Hong Kong Island has remained paralyzed throughout the day of September 29.
Beijing mouthpiece Global Times ran an opinion piece on Occupy Central, which began on September 28, accusing the movement of ruining Hong Kong's image. Are umbrellas really more damaging to the city's image than armed police holding huge tear gas cannons?