Just over a month has passed since the start of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong, and there is still no resolution in sight. Both the Umbrella Revolution protesters and the government have dug in for the long run, neither side willing to compromise on their views. Of the three protest camps in the city, the Mong Kok camp has seen the most tension in recent weeks. The camp there has barricaded an entire block of Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in the area. Local business owners, taxi and minibus drivers, and masked thugs have voiced and occasionally physically displayed their opposition to the protests.
Mong Kok is the heart of Kowloon and one of the most densely populated areas in the world. This mostly blue-collar area is a mix of old residential and commercial neighbourhoods, and is normally packed with tourists and locals alike looking for bargain goods. It is also a hot-spot for organized criminal gangs (the triads) who are many think are being paid by pro-government sympathizers to clear the camp. A few weeks ago, police dismantled the protest barricades in an early-morning raid that met little resistance… only to have protesters return by the thousands the next night to reclaim the area. This resulted in some pretty tense moments over the next few days that could have easily spiraled out of control – luckily cooler heads prevailed and the area is again blocked off and the barricades back up.
When I visited the camp, there were far more tourists and curious onlookers than protesters (none of the tourists were shopping, they were just taking photos like me). Walking down the middle of Nathan Road free of traffic is an eerie sensation, as this is normally one of busiest streets in Hong Kong.
These photos were taken with Pentax Takumar SMC legacy lenses adapted my X-Pro1 camera. Click on the picture for a better view.