More than 100 young people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to show solidarity with pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
The peaceful crowd – mostly students and young professionals from Hong Kong – sang “Do You Hear the People Sing” from Les Miserables and chanted calls for open elections on the steps of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Institute before moving to Lafayette Square in front of the White House.
They tied yellow ribbons – a symbol of the pro-democracy movement – on each other and on nearby railings.
People have begun calling the Occupy Central movement the Umbrella Revolution. Protesters in Hong Kong use them as shields against tear gas.
The protest was orderly and calm. Hong Kong natives thanked people for stopping by and even removed the yellow ribbons they had tied on the railings when they departed for Lafayette Square.
Josephine Au (pictured with Julian Lantry, 23), a 24-year-old who moved to the U.S. from Hong Kong a month and a half ago for graduate school, said she attended the protest because, “We want a government that represents the Hong Kong people rather than the Chinese government. They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive, but right now, Hong Kong is not representing its own people.”
Tin Lok, a 21-year-old University of Maryland-College Park student who arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong nine years ago, helped organize the protest because the government “keeps on making these broken promises.”
Nana Anguah Dei, a 23-year-old University of Maryland-College Park student and a friend of one of the organizers, decided to help out because, “This is a good cause. It’s pro-democracy, for a brighter future…why not?”
While most of the attendees were in their 20s, a few older Hong Kong natives stopped by to lend their support. Kwok Tsang, a physicist who moved to the U.S. from Hong Kong about 30 years ago, praised young people for their activism.
“The youths were being called indifferent before,” he said. “Now, we see they’re involved. If young people are involved, we have a future.”
All photos by Nicole Toczauer for Fusion. Additional reporting by Nicole Toczauer.