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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Hong Kong’s protests show no signs of slowing down as the movement enters its 11th week.

By Adryel Talamantes for
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

A large group of protesters stand in the middle of Mei Tin road in Tai Wai village as clouds of tear gas fill the air in the distance. (August 10, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Protesters set up roadblocks on Mei Tin road in Tai Wai village as part of ongoing civil disobedience actions that started in Tai Po village earlier that day. (August 10, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

A group of protesters moves a large wooden plank into the road under the Octopus Pedestrian Bridge in Tai Wai village in order to set up road blocks at the intersection of Kung Mui Kuk road and Mei Tin road. (August 10, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Hong Kong Police officers in full riot gear prepare to launch tear gas at protesters in order to clear the intersection of Kung Mui Kuk road and Mei Tin road in Tai Wai village. (August 10, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Hong Kong police charge under the Octopus Pedestrian Bridge in Tai Wai village as protesters illuminate them with green laser pointers. (August 10, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Hong Kong police lead away a woman after violently arresting her on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Sui village. The woman was not a protester and was not acting aggressively before her arrest. It remains unclear why she was randomly apprehended by the police. (August 10, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Members of the public gather and scream at police in the middle of Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui after witnessing the arrest of the woman in the previous image. (August 10, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

A protester aims a high intensity violet laser pointer at the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station after large groups of protesters and members of the public caused riot police to withdraw into the station. (August 10, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Crowds of protesters march on Cheung Sha Wan road in Sham Sui Po as part of a continued civil disobedience campaign. (August 11, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

A group of protesters hold umbrellas while dragging roadblocks made out of metal rails in Cheung Sha Wan. (August 11, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Protesters fasten together improvised roadblocks with zip ties in Cheung Sha Wan. (August 11, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Hospital staff stage a sit in protest in the main lobby of Prince of Wales Hospital to express outrage after a female medic volunteer was shot in the face by a non-lethal bean bag round fired by Hong Kong police during a protest outside of the Tsim Sha Tsui police station on August 11. Many of the participants of the sit in wear patches on their right eyes to symbolize the extreme injuries sustained by the woman, who may suffer permanent blindness in one eye as a result. (August 13, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Members of the public and protesters burn joss paper, otherwise known as “spirit money,” in accordance with the “Performing Good Deeds and Cleansing Hostility Ritual,” part of the traditional Buddhist/Taoist Hungry Ghost festival, as the Sham Sui Po Police Station is illuminated by laser pointers in the background. (August 14, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Police officers are illuminated by a bright green laser pointer as protesters aim lasers at the Sham Sui Po Police Station. (August 14, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

The Sham Sui Po Police Station is covered with light trails as protesters illuminate the building with laser pointers in an act of civil disobedience. (August 14, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

A woman holds a sign as four police officers walk by and observe the start of the “Reclaim Our Soil, Restore Our Peace” protest in Hok Yuen. (August 17, 2019)

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2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Police stand in rows with shields raised in front of the entrance to Mong Kok Police Station. (August 17, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Frontline protesters stand in the street in Mong Kok after being chased down Nathan Road by police in full riot gear after a standoff in front of the Mong Kok Police Station. (August 17, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Frontline protesters wearing industrial respirators wait in the middle of Nathan Road next to anti-law enforcement graffiti after being chased away from the Mong Kok Police Station by police. (August 17, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Thousands of protesters stand in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park holding umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain as they listen to speeches before the start of the “Peaceful, Rational, Non-Violent Protest” march to Charter Road. (August 18, 2019)

Credit: Adryel Talamantes
2 Months on, Hong Kong Remains Defiant

Crowds of protesters fill the streets of Hong Kong Island during the march originating in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. At an estimated 1.7 million people, their numbers amounted to a quarter of Hong Kong’s total population. (August 18, 2019)

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For over 2 months, Hong Kong has been experiencing the largest and most sustained series of protests in its history. Initially the movement was sparked by the proposal to amend the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong on March 29, 2019. If enacted, the bill, among other mechanisms, would have made it possible to extradite fugitives to mainland China, an eventuality to which citizens of Hong Kong from varying segments of society took exception. After starting as limited protest actions, the movement rapidly grew in size and public participation, resulting in June 9’s march of over 1 million people. At the time, it was the largest public demonstration to occur in Hong Kong, though subsequent marches have been larger. As a result of public disapproval over the violent handling of the protests by the police and the perceived indifference of the local government, the demonstrations continued to expand, leading to the suspension of the bill in the Legislative Council on June 15 and a public apology by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

An escalation of violence in July and early August has shaken Hong Kong to its core, with local police employing tear gas and rubber bullets resulting in grave injuries to protesters and exposure of ordinary citizens to tear gas in largely residential areas. The expanded goals of the movement now consist of a five-point list of demands: completely withdrawing the extradition bill from the Legislative Council, retraction of the categorization of the protests as “riots,” exoneration of arrested protesters, an inquiry into police actions regarding their handling of the protests, and the resignation of Carrie Lam as well as enacting universal suffrage for the selection of Legislative Council members and the chief executive.

The movement remains strong and recent events have shown no signs of capitulation by either the protesters or local authorities as the unrest enters its 11th week.

Adryel Talamantes (instagram: adryel_talamantes) is a photojournalist and writer originally from the United States, now based in Bangkok, Thailand.  His work has been published by the Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, The Diplomat, The Nikkei Asian Review, The Global Post/PRI, War Is Boring, and elsewhere.