Hong Kong (1967) / Choice of Space of Protest during the 1967 Riots

For the 1967 riots, the routes of protest were documented by historical video clips as published on the other entry. It can be clearly observed that most of the space used during the protest were street space.

The  triggering point of the protest was at Tai Yao Street on 5th May where industrial buildings were along it. the people were protesting against the Artificial Flower Factory, one of the factories on the street. They were targeting the industrial building instead of Tai Yao Street. However,  the unconscious occupy of the streets has filled them with the history of protest.

Photography showing the unconscious choice of street to be the space for protest
The unconscious choice of street to be the space for protest.

Screenshot of “Large Event in Hong Kong in 1967″ © 2010, HK Television Broadcasts Limited

Street space in between industrial buildings at San Po Kong
Street space in between industrial buildings at San Po Kong

Screenshot of “Large Event in Hong Kong in 1967″ © 2010, HK Television Broadcasts Limited

 

The Garden Road Incident happened on 15th May, the protesters targeted marching up to the Government House. It was described that “more than 20 staff from Joint Publishing Company gathered outside their bookshop in Wellington Street in Central.” (Cheung K.W., 2009, p.45) when the people gathered before going to protest areas. The street space was chosen by the protesters not just to march but also to assemble.

“The government used to dispatch scores of policemen to block off the nearby streets once they found people staging a flying assembly and fired tear gas. The shops nearby had to halt their business and hawkers had to run away,”(Cheung K.W., 2009, p.79). It has shown a picture of the situation of the street at that time on July, that the streets became the center of the urban life. When there were activities happened on the streets, the people nearby would also be affected.

Fake and real bombs started to appear on the street on 12th July when the first bomb exploded in Tai Po. A lot of streets were affected during that time, in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon as well as New Territories. “…, the police had to treat every suspect object with the greatest caution. During such operations the surrounding area had to be kept clear, causing delays to traffic and pedestrians.” (Cheung K.W., 2009, p.88) It had shown that the street were important in terms of offering main circulation in the urban as the blockage of street would have caused serious congestion.

Blocking roads and streets by the police when suspected bombs were found
Blocking roads and streets by the police when suspected bombs were found

Screenshot of “Hong Kong History Decode – fake and real bombs” © 2007, ATV Asia Television Limited

 

From the happenings in the 1967 riots, it could be observed that streets were the vital element in the urban fabric of the city, that no single events in the protest could take place without the street.

Street space involved in the 1967 riots
Street space involved in the 1967 riots

 

 

 

Reference:

CHEUNG, K.W. (2009) Hong Kong’s Watershed: The 1967 Riots. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

1 Comment on “Hong Kong (1967) / Choice of Space of Protest during the 1967 Riots

  1. Many of the rioters chose hugely dense, slummy and populated areas to stage their demonstrations. I believe the major reason behind is the many narrow alleyways that could allow for their easier retreat and to spread out for bigger impacts. It could be seen after the 1967 Riots the attempt by the government to re-develop these urban districts in order to eradicate the left-over spaces, which might house and brew criminal activities.

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