Blue or yellow ribbon? Protests divide Hong Kong society

 The yellow ribbons of pro-democracy protesters and the blue ribbons of their opponents symbolise the division in Hong Kong over the "umbrella revolution" which is about to complete a month of protests and calls for civil disobedience.

IANS| Updated: Oct 28, 2014, 13:17 PM IST

Hong Kong: The yellow ribbons of pro-democracy protesters and the blue ribbons of their opponents symbolise the division in Hong Kong over the "umbrella revolution" which is about to complete a month of protests and calls for civil disobedience.

Yellow was chosen from the outset as the movement`s colour since late September and has filled areas surrounding the local government headquarters and also the centre of the Mong Kok shopping district, the epicentre of demonstrations to demand democratic elections for the post of chief executive (local governor) in 2017. 

By association, the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Tree", a 1970s classic, has now become the unofficial protest anthem. 

On the other hand, groups affected by the protests, from traders to taxi drivers, have chosen the blue ribbon -- which according to critics is linked to the police -- as their symbol. 

In recent days, the "blue ribbons" have even begun to organise demonstrations calling for an end to the street blockades and the return to normalcy, and have organised signature campaigns, but democrats believe that too many hidden interests are behind this group. 

"They are people with money, businesses, who suddenly lose a little due to the protests and are already insecure. They are also people who believe too much in the messages of the government," said Penny Yeung, a local official taking part in the protests in Mong Kok along with the students. 

Most of the major violent incidents marking the four weeks of protests have occurred when the "blue ribbons" forcefully tried to remove barricades set up by the protesters to cut traffic. 

Robert Chow, member of an organisation collecting signatures to end the protests, told media the movement was ignoring the rule of law and violating public order by indefinitely blocking major commercial roads in Hong Kong, a city normally plagued by traffic jams. 

"Not so, here every day elderly people come to give us their support and sit with us", said Penny Yeung, who disregarded the claims. 

The social division in Hong Kong, however, has become obvious these days, as symbolised last Saturday night when supporters and opponents of the protests demonstrated against one another, separated by Victoria Harbour, the true heart of the city. 

On one side, north of the Kowloon peninsula, the "blue ribbons" demanded a return to normalcy, in a rally in which several journalists were attacked. 

On the other, a-two minute ferry trip away, the leaders of the "umbrella revolution" demanded real democracy for the 2017 elections and the resignation of the chief executive, who is a puppet of China according to them.