79 days that paralyzed the city

Top News | Jane Cheung 25 Apr 2019

The 79-day Umbrella Movement started in September 2014 and paralyzed traffic in Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay as activists demanded universal suffrage for chief executive elections.

There were protests and class boycotts in universities after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress rejected proposals to remove restrictions to sort out candidates for the election, known as the "August 31 decision."

On the night of September 26, 2014, student leaders, including Scholarism convener Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang from the Hong Kong Federation of Student, led activists in storming Civic Square, which was closed by authorities due to security concerns.

Their actions prompted police officers to seal off the square and prevent more people entering the area.

The next afternoon officers started clearing the venue and arresting student leaders one by one.

Citizens rushed to Tim Mei Avenue to back the student activists and crowded footbridges connecting to the government offices.

Occupy's founding trio - Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming - were among those who showed support, and soon after midnight on September 28 the three announced the official launch of the Occupy Movement and started it with the occupation of government headquarters.

Tens of thousands of citizens answered the call and occupied major roads linking Admiralty to Central and Wan Chai in support of the student leaders and the founding trio.

Similar occupations also took place in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.

Police fired 87 cans of tear gas in a failed attempt to disperse the crowds.

The movement came to an official end on December 15, 2014, when police cleared all protesters outside government headquarters.

There were 1,003 people arrested, with more than 255 already prosecuted and 118 convicted.

It was suggested all prosecutions targeting those arrested for Occupy action would end after the nine leaders were convicted.

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