“Hands up, don’t shoot” has become a protest mantra after the untimely death of unarmed teen Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown has become an unintentional martyr, his death becoming a symbol of police brutality and criminal profiling, both sitting on the unfair foundation of racism. Supporters in Ferguson have been protesting the police, demanding answers around Brown’s death in on August 9th, 2014 and justice for the officer who took his life. But has the impact of Mike Brown’s death gone beyond the U.S. and impacted the world? That’s obvious as merely two weeks after Brown’s death, Palestinians tweeted teargas advice to Ferguson protestors.
However, over the weekend, observers in a youth-led pro-democracy demonstration in Hong Kong noticed a familiar gesture: hands up. One could easily mistake this gesture as international support of the tragedy in Ferguson.
Producer, Alex Medina tweeted the above photo, saying that protestors in Hong Kong are showing up by the tens of thousands, with their hands up in support of Ferguson, however Vox is reporting that while young Hong Kongers pride themselves on being plugged into the world, there’s no real way of confirming that these protestors are indeed supporting Ferguson through their gesture. In fact, some of the protesters are organized within a group called Occupy Central, named for Hong Kong’s Central financial district and for the global protest movement that began with Occupy Wall Street.
Activists in Hong Kong are demanding free elections for the semi-autonomous territory and have been holding their hands up in the air in a symbol of non-violent protests, even as police spray them with tear gas. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? According to reports, when asked about any link between the gesture and Ferguson, Icy Ng, a 22-year-old design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University said, “I don’t think so. We have our hands up for showing both the police and media that we have no weapons in our hands.” Ng had not heard of the Ferguson protests. Even though many of the protestors in Hong Kong haven’t even heard of what’s going on in Ferguson, the symbol of their hands up speaks volumes of police brutality, not only here in the U.S. but worldwide. This “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” symbolism is a chance for us to all ban together n solidarity with all of our issues and stand for what we all believe in.
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