[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: WTO Protest Action

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

WTO Protest Action

An estimated 5000-10,000 (still preliminary) protestors gathered in Hong Kong's Victoria Park and marched their way to the Exhibition Centre where the WTO 6th Ministerial Conference has just begun.Protestors from all over south-east Asia expressed their solidarity with cultural gatherings and workshops. But the most hyped group are the South Korean farmers who made headline news when Lee Kyeong-hae commited suicide at Cancun 2003..

Only a short hour's march from Victoria Park to the assembly area near the Exhibition Centre, the loud but peaceful rally went through one of Hong Kong's busiest cosmomopolitan areas- Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. With 9,000 police on duty, a third of Hong Kong's force, navy riot helmets and shields were as common as the ordinary spectator. An interesting point is that very few Hong Kongers took to the streets and many citizens were both simply annoyed and bemused at the event. Most can thank the mainstream media's pre-coverage, which was reminiscent of each year's MayDay in Dublin; news bulletins predicting doom and chaos. But then again since the protests are mainly about agriculture and manufacturing, these two industries are practically non-existent in Hong Kong (mainly services based), so that is why the WTO chose HK perhaps?
One highlight was when 50 Korean farmers (they sure know how to make a scene) jumped into Wan Chai harbour and tried to swim towards the blockaded Exhibition Centre. Most were predictably picked up by the naval guards.Towards the end of today's rally there were short outbursts of violence, again mainly by Korean farmers. Pepper sprays were today's special on the menu.The People's Action Week continues till the 18th with many events and rallies along the way.

Fore more info:
Hong Kong People's Alliance on WTO
Our World is Not For Sale
Make Trade Fair (Oxfam)

Article also featured on Indymedia Ireland