Timeline of the HK Umbrella Movement, 20 June 2014 to 24 June 2015


792,808 people vote in the OCLP referendum. There are two questions on the ballot. The first asks voters to choose between three proposals for genuine universal suffrage in line with international laws and standards. The second asks whether the Legislative Council should vote against any HK government proposal that is not in line with international laws and standards. 696,092 voters respond yes to the second question. While one can argue the voters who took part in the referendum were self-selecting (that is to say, largely pro-democracy), the referendum still succeeds in showing massive support for genuine universal suffrage. The original referendum was scheduled for June 20 to 22, but it was extended by five days after a DDoS cyberattack which the security firm tasked with defending against it, CloudFlare, described as the largest ever to be publicly reported. The Partystate and HK government denounced the referendum as “illegal”. While the referendum was not legally binding, and its organizers never suggested it was, it certainly did not break any laws, and it was never formally accused of doing so.


510,000 people march to demand genuine universal suffrage, the largest turnout for the annual July 1 pro-democracy march since 2003. Then, the issue at stake was proposed Article 23 security legislation the HK government wished to pass to fulfill the terms of the Basic Law and bring HK security laws into line with those on the mainland. As an indirect result of the 2003 march, the legislation was eventually shelved indefinitely (and as of 2017 still had not been enacted) and, 19 months later, the first Chief Executive of HK after the handover resigned.

After the 2014 march, Scholarism and Hong Kong Federation of Students lead sit-ins, respectively, at the Chief Executive’s office and Chater Road, Central. The sit-in on Chater Road is the first large-scale civil disobedience action to take place in relation to the struggle for genuine universal suffrage. Though the sit-in demonstrators, lead by HKFS, had promised to leave by 8 am the next morning, the police took no chances and spent the night picking them up one by one from the road and carrying them away. When 8 am came and passed and there were still several dozen protesters on the road, a cheer went up. In all, police arrested 511 people. As of April 2017, none were ever prosecuted.


The National People’s Congress Standing Committee issues a hardline ruling on political reform in Hong Kong. While it says the Chief Executive can be elected by “universal suffrage” in the next election in 2017, it places such restrictions on the election that it cannot be regarded as genuine universal suffrage under international law and according to international standards. Furthermore, the NPCSC ruling is so intrusive into areas which are generally regarded as the HK government’s domain that many see the decision as an intrusion into HK’s autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems” and as breaking promises made by central government leaders in the past that HK would be allowed to determine how to hold elections under universal suffrage. The NPCSC rules, effectively, that the current 1,200-elector Election Committee will become the Nominating Committee with no substantial changes, that the Nominating Committee has full say over nominations (effectively ruling out calls for public or civic nomination), and that there should be no more than two or three candidates. Since the Election Committee is effectively rigged so as to ensure it is controlled by the Partystate, this means that the “two or three” candidates the ruling allows will be screened by the Partystate according to nonexistent (but presumably political) criteria before the people of HK are allowed to vote for them. This amounts to unreasonable restrictions on the right to stand for elections and be elected, guaranteed in international law under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to which HK, according to the Basic Law, is party. For HK people, the NPCSC ruling is the clearest sign yet that the Partystate intends to renege on its promise of universal suffrage. Its strategy is devious: to withhold universal suffrage while pretending to offer it.

The NPCSC ruling is immediately denounced by all in the pro-democracy movement. In the evening, OCLP holds a rally with a turnout of 5,000 in Tamar Park and declares an “era of resistance”. 24 pan-democratic Legco members vow to vote against any HK government proposal based on the NPCSC ruling.

Over the course of September, OCLP holds events such as a Black Cloth March and a head-shaving ceremony to prepare for civil disobedience. Turnouts to its events are solid if not spectacular, and OCLP appears to be having difficulty gaining traction. Towards the end of September, it begins to drop heavy hints that its first act of civil disobedience will occur during an upcoming public holiday.


HKFS and Scholarism hold a student class boycott to protest against the NPCSC ruling and call for genuine universal suffrage. It begins on Monday 22 September with a rally of 10,000 students from all HK universities at Chinese University of Hong Kong. From 23 to 25 September, it is held at Tamar Park and other sites around government headquarters. Though HKFS applied to use Tamar Park on the 26th as well, the last day of the week-long boycott, the government department responsible for reservations, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (which heretofore had been regarded as relatively unpoliticized) rejected the application on the grounds that the park can only be reserved for up to three days at a time, and that another group, coincidentally a pro-Beijing group who wished to hold an event related to National Day (still five days away), also requested the park on that date. As a result, the last day of the student class boycott is moved to the pavement along Tim Mei Avenue, next to the Legislative Council Building. There are even more students on that day than on past days since it is the one and only day of the secondary school class boycott organized by Scholarism. Hundreds of students dressed in their school uniforms sit in cramped neat rows on the pavement while a few dozen people from the pro-Beijing group laconically prepare their event in Tamar Park.


Late in the evening, just as the class boycott week looks to be winding up, student leaders call on students to “reclaim Civic Square”, an area next to the Legislative Council Building and government headquarters which until July was unfenced and open to the public. After June protests against HK government plans for developing the northeast New Territories, during which some protesters entered the lobby of the Legco building, the HK government closed the square to the public, except on Sundays and public holidays and only then pending acceptance of an application, and fenced it in. Over one-hundred students respond to the call of student leaders to reclaim the square, managing to squeeze in through an open gate or climb over the tall fence to enter. Police are taken by surprise. Eventually, they mobilize and surround the students in the square. Hundreds of their supporters remain along Tim Mei Avenue outside the square, and the crowd swells during the night as word gets out.


The police declare the gathering outside of Civic Square unlawful, and on several occasions during the night, indiscriminately pepperspray the crowd but fail to entirely disperse them. By morning, the police have cordoned off one side of Tim Mei Avenue. Not until late morning do the police arrest the 61 occupiers remaining in the square, removing them one by one. By this time, thousands have gathered outside the square. The numbers continue to increase over the course of the afternoon.


Around 1 am on Sunday morning, Benny Tai announces that Occupy Central has begun. OCLP was initially reluctant to join in the demonstrations and appeared to be waiting to see whether they would continue or dissipate, as it had already been planning its public holiday civil disobedience activity, which is now pre-empted by this fact on the ground. His announcement causes some confusion and consternation, with some wondering whether OCLP is trying to “take over”. Long Hair pleads for unity and eventually differences are smoothed over.

Police entirely cordon off Tim Mei Avenue, allowing no one to enter the area. As a result, people arriving over the course of the day from the Admiralty Centre MTR station have nowhere to go. The crowd lining the pavement along the south side of the major thoroughfare of Connaught/Harcourt Road, across from government headquarters, becomes immense. Eventually, for lack of space as much as any other reason, people begin to step out into the nine-lane road. Before long, the road is covered with thousands of demonstrators and traffic is blocked. Little can anyone expect that the road will not be re-opened to traffic again until 11 December.

At 5:58 pm, the police respond with teargas. It is the first time since the leftist riots of 1967 that police have used teargas against HK citizens and the first time anyone can remember HK police using teargas against peaceful protesters. Even after the police fail to disperse protesters with teargas, they continue shooting teargas canisters for a total of eight hours, to little effect. Later, the police report having shot 87 rounds of teargas. All of HK is outraged by the attacks, and even more people come out to support those already in the streets. The teargas attacks have the unintended consequence of dispersing protesters up and down the length of HK Island, stretching as far as Central in the west and Causeway Bay in the east. Meanwhile, a new occupation occurs in Mong Kok on Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in Kowloon.


By morning, three major sites around HK, Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mongkok, are occupied by thousands, thus beginning what will turn out to be 79 days of occupation. Police announce a total of 3,670 meters of carriageway have been blocked. Weeks into the occupations, this amount will decrease to about 2,900 and then remain constant at that until the police clearances begin in late November. The occupations have taken place spontaneously and are not lead or directed by any particular group. Indeed, on Sunday evening, when HKFS and OCLP implored demonstrators to go home, heeding rumors the police intended to open fire and fearing for people’s safety, people ignored the call. In these origins of the occupations lie tensions and challenges of organization and decision-making that will be on-going throughout the occupations, between the ordinary demonstrators in the street, on the one hand, and the leading pro-democracy groups, HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP, on the other.


Late in the evening, Canton Road in Kowloon is occupied by dozens, becoming the fourth occupied site. There is no police intervention.


The first major artwork goes up at an occupation site, the “tree of democracy”, made of umbrellas, at the roundabout on Tim Mei Ave next to the Legislative Council Building, Admiralty. Many others follow, and the art and creativity come to be seen as a defining hallmark of the occupations.

Protests around the world are held in solidarity with the HK pro-democracy occupations, in 64 cities and on more than 40 US university campuses.

Information emerges about a crackdown on people on the mainland who support the democracy protests in HK, with one to two dozen detained . Over the coming weeks, upwards of 200 will be detained. News emerges of Instagram being blocked on the mainland, of Weibo and WeChat being censored; HK travel agents report mainland group tours to HK have been suspended.

OCLP co-founder, Chan Kin-man, apologizes to HK people for inconvenience caused by the occupations and asks demonstrators to stick to the three original sites and not spread out.

Student groups give CY Leung an ultimatum: Step down before the end of Thursday. While the exact consequence of non-compliance is kept deliberately unclear, it appears to involve occupation of government buildings.

The “Stand by You: Add Oil Machine” is set up in Admiralty. Most evenings, it projects messages of support from around the world upon the sides of buildings for all to see.


An editorial in People’s Daily, the Partystate mouthpiece, denounces the occupations and expresses full support for the Chief Executive and HK police.

Reports seep out from unnamed sources connected to the Partystate and HK government that 1) Beijing has ordered HK to end the protests peacefully, and 2) the CE intends to wait out the occupations until they subside or lose public support.

Police attempt to smuggle riot gear and weapons including batons, rubber bullets, teargas and guns, past protesters camped outside of the Chief Executive’s office, where the police are bivouacked.

Three main pro-democracy groups, HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP, vow to step up coordination between themselves, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the student groups are in the decision-making lead and OCLP is largely advising them.

HKFS exhorts occupiers to prepare to surround government headquarters. Police also appear to be preparing to repel attempts to surround government headquarters. HKFS then sends an open letter to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, saying it would agree to a dialogue with her to discuss political reform. The letter does not allude to HKFS’s earlier demand that CY Leung step down before midnight and thus is regarded as an attempt at compromise.

Right before the midnight deadline, CY Leung announces he agrees to talks between the government and students and appoints his Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam, to lead the talks on the government side, but he refuses to step down.


Persistent disagreements between the leading groups of HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP, on the one hand, and ordinary, unaffiliated occupiers, on the other, over 1) whether or not to occupy Lung Wo Road and 2) whether or not to block government employees from entering government headquarters are a sign of tensions amongst occupiers regarding tactics and degrees of escalation to be employed. Many ordinary occupiers argue for escalation, pressing advantage and building on the momentum, while the leading groups preach moderation, arguing that the movement has public opinion on its side and shouldn’t fritter away support by engaging in actions that will appear “extreme” to many.

In the morning, separately, though the coincidence leads to suspicions of collusion, police start to clear some barriers in Causeway Bay and anti-Occupy thugs do the same in Mong Kok. Over the course of the day, attacks on occupiers in Mong Kok increase with little to no intervention on the part of the police. The anti-Occupy thugs appear to be coordinated, and even the police later claim that some have triad links and backgrounds. Given the slow police response to violence against occupiers in Mong Kok and reluctance on the part of police to arrest thugs identified by occupiers as their attackers, suspicions of police collusion with thugs increase. Police even use the attacks on occupiers as an excuse to attempt to “evacuate” them, supposedly for their own safety. Unsurprisingly, they resist.

Instead of appealing to the thugs to stop the violence, the government appeals to occupiers to leave the area, the logic being apparently that they are the cause of the violence, that they brought it upon themselves. It appears that, after having agreed to talks, the HK government is trying to “soften the occupiers up” and test their resilience.

In response, hundreds of supporters arrive at Mong Kok and Causeway Bay occupations to protect the occupiers under attack, and many more arrive at Admiralty as well. The net result is that the size of the occupations increases. Late in the evening, after the anti-Occupy thugs leave, police raise warning flags in Mong Kok and threatened to clear the area by force before disappearing completely. By the following morning, police announce 19 arrests have been made in Mong Kok.

By 7 pm, OCLP, HKFS and Scholarism issue a joint statement saying that if the government fails to take prompt action against the violent attacks on occupiers, they may consider calling off talks between students and government. By 10 pm, in light of continuing violent attacks on occupiers, they announce they are suspending plans to hold talks with the government.

Another iconic installation is put up: 200 umbrellas broken in the police pepperspray and teargas attacks that sparked the occupations are made by students from Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts into a canopy and hung between the two pedestrian bridges spanning Connaught/Harcourt Road, the heart of the occupied area in Admiralty, from government headquarters to Admiralty Centre. The canopy is directly above the main stage where evening rallies are held.


CY Leung issues a warning that all government offices and schools must re-open on Monday. Many interpret the warning as a threat to clear occupied areas, especially at Admiralty, by force.

Pan-democrat Legislative Council members condemn the violence in Mong Kok and allege that the HK government and triads colluded.

A huge rally is held in the evening at Admiralty. HKFS presents a condition for re-starting talks with the government: The government must promise to investigate allegations that police and anti-Occupy thugs colluded and police selectively enforced the law.


Lennon Wall emerges, a wall along a curved concrete staircase bordering government headquarters that democracy activists and citizens gradually blanket with thousands of colored post-it notes expressing wishes for democracy and HK.

The HK government says it is willing to meet students, but it does not respond to the students’ demand that it promise to conduct an investigation into the violence in Mong Kok, instead setting its own pre-conditions: Access to government headquarters must be opened and all major roads in Admiralty and Central must be cleared by the end of Sunday.

HKFS responds that the government is misleading the public since access to government headquarters is not blocked. It further says that clearance of roads should not be a precondition for talks, and it reiterates its own demands.

Police announce that now 30 have been arrested in connection with violence in Mong Kok.

A chorus of public figures, including pro-Partystate, neutral and pro-democracy, call on demonstrators to leave the streets, expressing a fear for their safety as the prospect of the police carrying out a violent clearance looms.

HKFS announces preparations for talks with the government are underway, stating that the police have ensured that all occupiers will be protected.


A three-meter tall statue appears in Admiralty. The figure holding an umbrella alludes to both the symbol of the movement and an incident in which an occupier held an umbrella over a police officer during a downpour. The statue comes to be referred to as “Umbrella Man” and is one of the most highly recognized works of art in the occupied areas.

Police announce a total of 37 arrests in Mong Kok and have made 5 arrests for suspected cybercrimes (hacking/attacking government sites).


Police announce a total of 39 arrests in Mong Kok.

After several preparatory talks, the HK government and HKFS agree to hold the first talks on Friday 10 October at 4pm, with some details yet to be agreed.


Allegations emerge in Australian media that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying failed to reveal upon assuming office a large sum of money received for the sale of a company he owned. Over the coming weeks, further reports in the Australian media say that Leung accepted tens of millions of HK dollars from the buyer of the company even while another prospective buyer was offering more money for the company. This gives the impression that Leung was bribed to support the purchase of the company by the eventual buyer though it offered less money for the company. At any rate, many assert that as a public official, he should have declared the income. Following these reports, calls are made for Leung to resign, pan-democrats attempt to launch Legco investigations but are thwarted by pro-Partystate Legco members, and a complaint is made to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, triggering an investigation. The on-going scandal acts as a sub-plot to the occupations and appears for a time to put additional pressure on the very unpopular Chief Executive.


HKFS calls on demonstrators to rally at Admiralty on Friday when the government-student talks are to occur. It also says that if Friday’s talks do not result in progress, there could be an escalation in the form of an expanded non-cooperation movement which could include more secondary school strikes.

Hours later, the HK government calls off talks scheduled for Friday, saying that the HKFS call for a rally at the same time “undermined the basis for a constructive dialogue” and that the occupiers were using the talks to get more people out onto the streets when their numbers were dwindling. The government seems strangely surprised that the students said the occupations would continue until talks produce results and says the occupations and the talks should not be linked. Many consider the government’s reason for cancelling talks a mere excuse: The government agreeing to talks and then backing out appears no more than a delaying tactic. HKFS leaders later report that from Wednesday, it became impossible to contact government representatives and they began to wonder if something was already afoot then. Pro-Partystate politicians later report that the government was also upset about plans for a non-cooperation campaign by pan-democrats in the Legislative Council. Still, the government decision appears a little mysterious. The government may have received orders from the Partystate to cancel it. A sign of that is that its rhetoric becomes much less flexible than in recent days, with it reverting back to statements it made prior to the CE’s announcement that the government would engage in talks, such as that the basis of the talks had to be the NPCSC August 31 ruling.


HKFS warns actions will escalate if the government refuses to re-schedule the talks.

For the first time, tents begin to appear at the occupied sites. Up to now, most demonstrators have been sleeping out in the open or under open-sided canopies. This is the beginning of what will become, especially in Admiralty, tent villages, with hundreds of tents popping up and remaining until the late November (Mong Kok) and mid-December (Admiralty, Causeway Bay) clearances.

Demonstrators go ahead with the rally originally called by HKFS before the government cancelled talks, and there is a very large turnout in Admiralty in the tens of thousands. Leaders call for a long-term occupation, and there is a dawning awareness that the occupations could last very long indeed.


HKFS sends an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The purpose of the letter appears partially to be to reassure Xi that the occupations are not a ‘color revolution’ in disguise (as they have been called in People’s Daily) and the people of HK have no desire or intention of separating from China or influencing politics on the mainland. The letter also lists three demands: 1. HK officials need to “answer for their actions, answer to the Hong Kong people” and change their approach to political reform. 2. A fully democratic electoral system with equal rights must be established. 3. The principle of “one country, two systems” must be upheld, meaning HK issues should be dealt with by HK, and political issues should be dealt with “politically”. The letter does not receive a response.

Two days later, on a visit to Russia, Vice Premier Wang Yang warns that Western countries are attempting to trigger a “color revolution” in China by supporting the “opposition camp” in HK. Throughout the occupations, Partystate officials have no contact whatsoever with anyone in the pro-democracy movement.


Around 6:45 in the morning, police remove barriers erected by demonstrators in areas no longer occupied in Central. At the same time, police remove barriers in Mong Kok. Except for the few removed in Causeway Bay on 3 October, this is the first time since the start of the occupations that police have actively removed barriers. The previous evening of Sunday 12 October, unidentified men removed barriers in Mong Kok, opening two lanes of previous blocked road to traffic, the timing again giving the impression that the police were coordinating with non-police groups. Towards midday, several hundred masked men attack occupiers on Queensway in Admiralty. Some barriers are removed, reportedly by truck drivers. The police response appears inconsistent, on the one hand, trying to separate occupiers and anti-occupiers, on the other, standing by as other anti-occupiers remove barriers. By late afternoon, occupiers are busy constructing new barricades in the areas of Admiralty where they have earlier been removed by anti-occupiers. By evening, new barricades have been completed across the Queensway thoroughfare.

Taxi, mini-bus and trucking groups announce they will seek a court injunction against protesters blocking roadways.


Before 6 am, hundreds of police officers remove barricades in Causeway Bay, eventually restoring westbound traffic on Yee Wo St. In Admiralty, by 10 am, hundreds of police officers begin dismantling barricades erected the day before on Queensway. By shortly after noon, both directions of Queensway are re-opened to traffic.

In late evening, police use pepperspray and batons to repel a small number of demonstrators who attempt to occupy Lung Wo Rd on the other side of the Admiralty occupation site. In response, hundreds of protesters crowd onto the road to support fellow protesters under attack by police. Lung Wo Rd is effectively blocked. Protesters begin constructing barricades there. In the middle of the night, hundreds of police clear Lung Wo Rd, using pepperspray and baton blows liberally. Police announce 37 arrests.


By early morning, television station TVB broadcasts footage of police officers beating a handcuffed and prostrate protester, who turns out to be Ken Tsang, a member of the pro-democracy Civic Party and an elector on the Election Committee for the Chief Executive. With the exception of the 28 September teargasing, and in spite of the fact that police consistently used pepperspray and batons against protesters, this incident becomes the most infamous case of police violence during the occupations. It also turns the tide of public opinion against the government, making the government recalculate and eventually agree to talks with the students. In the late morning, police announce the officers concerned have been “transferred away from their current positions” and that the incident will be investigated. Police otherwise play down the incident, repeatedly refusing to answer media questions about where the officers were transferred to, which units they are serving in or why they were not suspended, but a public outcry, including protests out front of police headquarters with hundreds queuing up to lodge formal complaints, leads to police suspending the seven officers involved on Thursday 16 October and eventually arresting them for “assault occasioning actual bodily harm” on 26 November, though it will still take the Department of Justice nearly a year to decide to prosecute them. Apart from the beating of Ken Tsang, reports also emerge of police refusing medical personnel access to wounded people, attacking human rights monitors wearing clearly marked shirts, and punching, pulling and dragging journalists who showed them press cards. Police now say 45 were arrested during the night on Lung Wo Rd.

In the afternoon, the government announces it is liaising with a middleman to set up talks with HKFS, the same talks the government abruptly called off on 9 October, the day before they were to take place on October 10, even though little has changed since they called off talks.


Police start to clear barricades at Mong Kok around 5:30 am, reopening northbound lanes of Nathan Rd to traffic.


Starting late Friday evening, an estimated 9,000 protesters reoccupy Nathan Rd and also occupy surrounding streets. Police use pepperspray and batons, aiming them at protesters’ heads. Police announce 33 arrests, though in coming days, this number grows to 63.

Protesters also attempt to reoccupy Lung Wo Rd in Admiralty, where police use pepperspray, batons, and, for the first time, police dogs.

The much criticized Police Commissioner Andy Tsang makes his first public comments since the teargasing on 28 September, saying that demonstrators are neither peaceful nor nonviolent. There have been many calls for him to step down to take responsibility for the teargasing and police violence against HK citizens.


Police try unsuccessfully to clear protesters from Mong Kok in the night from Saturday to Sunday, again aiming batons at protesters’ heads. They announce four arrests.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying makes the first of several assertions that “foreign forces” are behind the protests. He does not present any evidence to support the claim.

In an exclusive interview with foreign media, the CE again rules out free elections and says, “If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you’d be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month,” essentially saying the problem with democracy in Hong Kong is that all votes would be equal and poor people would dominate politically. His unwitting comment reveals a long-standing (but usually not publicly expressed, at least not so directly) prejudice of the ruling political and economic elites in HK and is met with outrage.


The High Court grants two injunctions against blockage of roads, one for two areas in Mong Kok (Argyle St and Nathan Rd) and one for a small, fringe area of Admiralty (in front of CITIC Tower). Demonstrators do not leave the areas covered in the injunction and no attempts are made to clear them forcibly.

Police announce that since 3 October, 94 arrests have been made in Mong Kok, expressing “grave concern” that Mong Kok is “on the verge of riot”. Meanwhile, Mong Kok is peaceful. Police and government propaganda is stepped up, with words like “extremist”, “radical”, “violent”, “riot” and “illegal” featuring prominently. The propaganda differs greatly from the reality on the street, but the purpose of the propaganda is to shift opinion amongst those not participating in or observing the occupations first hand.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says he will present evidence of foreign interference in Hong Kong when the time is right. (By April 2017, he still hadn’t, despite frequent reminders.)

In the evening, the first talk is held between HKFS and the government. It is unclear exactly what the purpose of the talk is. It amounts to little more than the two sides stating their already well-known positions. The students do this more articulately and convincingly than the government officials. The tone remains civil and the talk takes on the aspect of a secondary school debate. The government offers to present a supplementary report to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on occurrences related to political reform since it submitted its report to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee at the end of the first round of public consultation (a report which the pro-democracy movement says was inaccurate and gave the NPCSC justification for its hardline 31 August ruling). Significantly, though, this report would not go to the NPCSC and would have no legal status, lying outside of the reform process, so that it would be of little import and have no effect on the outcome of the process. While the government has previously spoken of holding “talks”, in the plural, with students, this turns out to be the one and only meeting between the two sides. The government keeps repeating that the NPCSC ruling is final and stressing China’s sovereignty over HK. This shields the HK government from responsibility but also renders it irrelevant. After the meeting, HKFS puts more effort into seeking dialogue with Partystate officials, to no avail. Effectively, the Partystate and HK government have adopted the strategy of stonewalling and waiting out the occupations, while at the same time periodically probing them for weak points.


A huge 6x28-meter banner saying “I want real universal suffrage” appears on iconic Lion Rock, the first of many large banners to be hung by climbers in coming weeks on various prominent mountains visible from urban areas. Lion Rock has been for decades symbolic of the HK spirit of hard work and perseverance. The banner hung there is deeply meaningful to many HK people, suggesting that the yearning for democracy is now equally important to the HK spirit. Apple Daily reproduces the banner as stickers inserted into the newspaper, and the stickers begin to appear all over HK. Others reproduce the banner as posters. Both the slogan and image become symbolic of the pro-democracy movement as a whole. The HK government takes a dimmer view, removing the banner on Thursday, meaning it has hung from Lion Rock for a total of little more than 24 hours. Subsequent banners will be taken down more quickly, usually within 24 hours.

HKFS indicates it may not agree to future talks with the government. Indeed, neither side seems very interested. What’s the point? seems to be the general attitude.

Anti-occupiers attempt to remove barricades in Mong Kok. They again attempt to do so on Thursday and Friday, resulting in many scuffles and, according to police, 11 arrests.


The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the legal authority monitoring compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, calls on China to allow universal suffrage in HK, emphasizing that this means both the right to vote and the right to stand in elections and expressing concern that China intends to politically screen candidates, which would not be in keeping with international law. During the whole period of the occupations, this is the only statement by international observers in official positions at governmental institutions that refers to international law and explicitly says the right to be elected without unreasonable restrictions needs to be ensured. Significantly, the members of the committee are appointed in their professional capacities and do not represent individual governments. No official representative of a foreign government refers to international law or to the right to stand for election without unreasonable restrictions in any statement on HK.


Occupation leaders announce they will hold a referendum in occupied areas, but its purpose and also what issues will be put to the vote are initially unclear and create confusion amongst occupiers. Initially, the leaders says the referendum will be held in Admiralty, but on Saturday they say it will be extended to the other two occupied areas. Initially, the leaders says the referendum will be on the two proposals put forward by the government in the 21 October meeting (to submit a report to the Partystate’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and to create a “platform” for long-term deliberation on constitutional development). Occupiers react quizzically to the referendum since it is abundantly clear that those proposals have met minimal enthusiasm. On Saturday 25 October, OCLP says the two proposals will be to 1) call on the government to recommend to the NPCSC that its 31 August decision be withdrawn, and 2) call for abolition of functional constituencies in the 2016 Legislative Council elections and introduction of civil nomination in the 2017 Chief Executive election. Again, the problem is that it is assumed there is general consensus on these points — if not, what have people been fighting for? On Sunday 26 October, the occupation leadership cancels the referendum entirely due to differing views and confusion on what the vote’s about and how it should be carried out. The matter makes the leadership appear indecisive, unclear about what to do and perhaps out of touch with the occupiers on the street. It appears that after the inconclusive meeting with the government, the occupation leadership is at a loss as to what to do next.


The pro-government Alliance for Peace and Democracy launches a nine-day anti-occupation campaign, with 908 booths all over the city collecting signatures to an anti-occupation statement. Its purpose is to demonstrate that the majority of HK people want the occupations to end. In July, the Alliance already cast doubts upon its credibility by claiming a huge number of signatures against OCLP in a similar campaign, though it was unclear who carried out the count, which was untransparent and unverifiable. It also lead a march in which it appeared many if not most of the participants were bussed in and compensated with cash pay-outs and/or meals. At the end of its nine-day campaign, on Monday 3 November, it announces it has collected in all 1.8 million anti-Occupy signatures, the count again unverifiable.

Assaults on two journalists from the large media organizations RTHK and TVB at an anti-occupation rally are captured on video, casting a spotlight on what has been a motif of the occupations, the large number of attacks on journalists by police and anti-occupiers. (Conversely, there is not a single incident of a pro-democracy occupier attacking the media during the course of the 79 days of occupation.)


Protesters remove barricades around CITIC Tower in Admiralty, across from government headquarters, allowing vehicle access to the parking garage. This is one of the areas covered in the temporary court injunctions against blockage of roads.


Two of the three OCLP co-founders, Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, both academics, say they will resume their teaching duties, thus leaving the occupied sites. This is the beginning of OCLP’s withdrawal from the occupations, which concludes with their voluntary surrender to police on 3 December.

In a letter to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, HKFS asks her to arrange talks with Premier Li Keqiang, saying that there’s no point in holding more talks with the HK government unless it can promise concrete results.

In the evening, a rally is held in Admiralty to mark the one-month anniversary of the start of the occupations. Tens of thousands turn out.


The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference expels pro-Partystate Liberal Party chair James Tien for calling on Leung Chun-ying to resign. This is widely interpreted as a sign that the Partystate will brook no public dissent within the ranks of Partystate loyalists.


HKFS announces it is considering a trip to Beijing during the APEC summit in order to attempt to meet Chinese government officials.


After much debate in the Legislative Council, both pro-government and pro-democracy motions for special investigations into the occupations are defeated. The pro-government motion called for an investigation to focus on the pro-democracy movement. The pro-democracy motion called for an investigation into the actions of the government and police in relation to the occupations. The defeat of both means there will be no effective, independent official public investigation of any aspect of the occupations or the police and government response, decreasing the chances of the police and government being held accountable for their actions.

Three bus firms file applications for High Court injunctions against occupations of Harcourt Rd, Connaught Rd and Cotton Tree Drive in Admiralty. These areas are behind barricades and representing about one-fifth of the total Admiralty occupied site, but they are largely unoccupied; that is, nobody is camping there.

A new giant pro-democracy banner saying “I want real universal suffrage” appears on Kowloon Peak / Fei Ngo Shan.


Another giant pro-democracy banner, the third, saying “I want real universal suffrage” appears on Tai Mo Shan just as the second banner is removed from Kowloon Peak.


HKFS announces it has decided not to travel to Beijing during the APEC summit but will instead ask prominent HK pro-Partystaters to assist it in arranging talks with the central government.


HKFS announces it will travel to Beijing by the end of the week if it receives no positive response from the HK pro-Partystaters it has asked for help to arrange talks with the central government.


Chief Secretary Carrie Lam says there’s no more room for talks with students.


Chinese President Xi Jinping makes his first public statement about the HK occupations in a joint press conference with US President Obama. Xi says they are illegal. Obama refutes allegations in Partystate media that the US is behind the protests.


HKFS announces it will send representatives to Beijing in an effort to meet central government officials.


Three HKFS representatives, Alex Chow, Eason Chung and Nathan Law, are prevented at HK airport from boarding a plane to Beijing, told by the airline they intend to fly that their home return permits have been revoked.


Bailiffs clear the small area around CITIC Tower in Admiralty covered by court injunction.

OCLP co-founder Chan Kin-man tells students to leave occupied areas or go to a smaller area, but students vow to stay until the end.


At about 1 am, a small group of people try to break into the Legislative Council building by ramming metal barriers through large glass panes. It later appears they mistakenly believed a bill regarding internet copyright that could affect the right to freedom of expresion was to be voted on the following day. Their act represents one of only two documented examples of violence by pro-democracy demonstrators in 79 days of occupations. (One other incident of a demonstrator assaulting a plainclothes police officer who made threats of sexual violence against female demonstrators occurs on 1 December.) In the coming days, the Legco break-in is denounced by virtually all the prominent leaders of the pro-democracy movement who renew calls for strict nonviolence.


Following the court injunction, which has gone through the appeals process and been upheld, bailiffs swiftly clear the intersection of Argyle St and Nathan Rd in Mong Kok, but they encounter difficulties clearing the rest of Argyle St, a one-block area, taking some five hours. Eventually, police intervene, considering the remaining demonstrators who are asking the bailiffs questions about the clearance to be in contempt of court. The police intervention turns a peaceful scene into a serious confrontation that continues late into the night, involving hundreds of police officers and hundreds if not thousands of demonstrators, and spreading to many of the side roads adjacent to Nathan Rd. The next day, the police announce 86 arrests, including of 32 people for refusing to leave the area on Argyle St under court injunction. Several journalists are victims of police pepperspray.


Police swiftly clear Nathan Rd, the main and last remaining occupied area in Mong Kok. After a bailiff tries to punch a demonstrator, the police dismiss the bailiffs and handle the job themselves, arresting several demonstrators, including HKFS leader Lester Shum, Scholarism leader Joshua Wong, and League of Social Democrats leader Raphael Wong, for contempt of court and obstruction of police though they were doing no more than being present. Thus, Mong Kok becomes the first of the three occupied sites to be cleared. Police announce that, altogether, at least 146 have been arrested in the clearance of Mong Kok over the two days.

The CE exhorts people to go shopping in Mong Kok now that the occupation has been cleared. Beginning in the evening, and continuing every subsequent evening for weeks to come, pro-democracy demonstrators “go shopping” in Mong Kok, appearing with signs and banners to chant slogans, sing, temporarily block streets by pretending to drop change in crosswalks, and generally make their presence felt.

HKFS threatens escalation in response to police violence in Mong Kok.

The seven police officers who beat Ken Tsang during the clearance of Lung Wo Rd on 14–15 October are arrested on charges of “assault occasioning actual bodily harm”. It will be nearly a year before their prosecution is announced.


Police announce altogether 168 arrested over two days in Mong Kok, 55 for contempt of court injunctions. Two of those arrested are journalists.

Video emerges of a police superintendent gratuitously hitting people on the street in Mong Kok with a baton. Criticism of police violence increases.


By 6 am, police have arrested 28 after an attempt during the night to occupy Argyle St. Pepperspray and batons are used by police.


HKFS and Scholarism call for a gathering Sunday night in Admiralty and ask demonstrators to bring protective gear.


Thousands turn out for a rally in Admiralty. Students direct demonstrators to go to the north end of Tim Wa Avenue, the street that runs in front of the Chief Executive’s office and is blocked by police. Confrontation ensues, as demonstrators attempt to enter Tim Wa Ave and are repelled by police. The confrontation continues throughout the night and into the next morning.


During the night, protesters, blocked from entering Tim Wa Ave, spread out into the adjoining Lung Wo Road thoroughfare, block it, and begin to construct barricades. Before midnight, protesters take over Lung Wo Road and police retreat. During the night, police clear protesters from Lung Wo Road, but protesters later retake it. At 7 am, in one of the more violent attacks during the 79-day occupation, police clear Lung Wo Rd again. Once again, pepperspray and batons are used liberally, and in the morning, for the first time, a water cannon is used. Police chase demonstrators up through Tamar Park, over the pedestrian bridge, and even descend to the main occupied area on Connaught/Harcourt Road. On the pedestrian bridge, police rip down banners that have hung there for weeks and taunt protesters. A scuffle ensues in Admiralty Centre. Later, police claim that protesters assaulted an officer. Protesters say that a person in plainclothes threatened to sexually assault female demonstrators, then attempted to run away and the protesters gave chase. Police clear dozens of tents from Tamar Park. By evening, police announce that they arrested 40 people in Admiralty and 12 in Mong Kok during the night. The Hospital Authority reports that between 10 pm Sunday night and 2 pm Monday afternoon, 58 people including 11 police officers were sent to accident and emergency wards at HK public hospitals, more than 10 percent of the overall number of 539 people recorded by the HA who have sustained injuries related to the occupations up to this point.

Later in the day, three Scholarism students, including Joshua Wong, go on hunger strike. In their declaration, they state, “…we want genuine universal suffrage, we want the government to withdraw the decision by the National People’s Congress… we urge the Hong Kong government to face people’s demands, open up dialogue with honesty, and restart the five-part political reform process.” These are not new demands but ones the students have been voicing all along.

The High Court grants an injunction to bar demonstrators from Harcourt Rd and Connaught Rd up to Cotton Tree Drive in Admiralty.


Police report that 38 people have been arrested in Mong Kok since Friday.


The three OCLP co-founders and about 60 supporters turn themselves in to police. They are released without arrest or charge. OCLP promised from the very beginning to take legal responsibility for its actions, and it sees turning itself in as living up to that promise. Other prominent pro-democracy leaders have said it is too soon for them to do so while occupiers are still in the street. OCLP leaders have advised occupiers to leave the street, as they have done themselves.

Two more students join the hunger strike, bringing the total to five.

Student hunger strikers issue an open letter to Chief Executive CY Leung calling for talks.

The temperature drops to twelve degrees.


Student hunger strikers ask intermediaries to help to set up talks with the government. Both pro-democracy and pro-Partystate politicians agree to do so.


One of the five hunger strikers, Isabella Lo, ends her hunger strike. She was one of the original three who began on Monday at 10 pm.

The CE rejects calls by pro-government politicians to meet the hunger strikers. Or, rather, he says he is “very willing” to meet them as long as they first accept the 31 August NPCSC ruling as the basis for discussion. Ever since 1 July, pro-democracy activists had been calling for Leung to meet them, but he has not done so. After the police teargasing of 27–28 September, pro-democracy leaders said they would no longer meet Leung and called for his resignation. When the hunger strikers called for a meeting, Leung put conditions on the meeting unacceptable to the hunger strikers. Thus, over the six months since the June OCLP referendum and the 1 July march of 510,000 and sit-in outside of his office, and through the 24 September march to his residence at Government House during the student class boycott to call for a meeting and the hunger strikers’ appeal, no meeting has taken place between Leung and pro-democracy movement representatives.


Joshua Wong ends his hunger strike. This leave one of the three original hunger strikers plus the two who started on Wednesday.


The third and final original hunger striker, Prince Wong, stops her hunger strike, which began on Monday at 10 pm. The two who started on Wednesday continue.


On Monday evening, Eddie Ng Man-him, one of the hunger strikers who began Wednesday, ceases his hunger strike. One hunger striker remains.

After all appeals are exhausted, the High Court gives final approval for clearance of the areas of Admiralty stipulated in the injunction.

Police announce they will clear all of Admiralty on Thursday, including the fourth-fifths of the occupied area outside of the court injunction.


Gloria Cheng, the last remaining hunger striker, finishes her hunger strike.

The HK government announces the second round of public consultation on political reform, scheduled to have begun in October but delayed due to the occupations, will begin soon. The second round is step three of the five-step political reform process stipulated by the NPCSC, following 1) the first round of public consultation and HK government report to the NPCSC and 2) the NPCSC ruling to allow political reform to occur, and preceding 4) a vote on the proposal in the Legislative Council, and, if passed, 5) NPCSC approval. All pan-democratic members of the Legislative Council have pledged to vote against any proposal based on the hardline 31 August NPCSC ruling. If they follow through on their pledge, the proposal cannot pass.


A huge rally of tens of thousands is held in Admiralty to mark the last night of occupation before police clearance the following day. The slogans of the rally are “We’ll be back” and “It’s only the beginning”. Banners with those slogans are hung, and they are scrawled on walls and roads throughout the occupied area, as a kind of welcome to police the next day.

Since the police announcement on Monday, archivists and volunteers have scrambled to photographically document the site and preserve key artworks and banners.


Police clearance of Admiralty is methodical and takes the whole day. Demonstrators put up no resistance. First, in the morning, bailiffs clear the area under court injunction. Then police announce they will clear the rest of the occupied area. They tell demonstrators to leave and give a deadline of 11 am. By 2 pm, they have cordoned off the area and commenced their clearance. Those inside of the cordoned area can still leave if they give police their ID details. Police record the ID details of 909 people. By 4 pm, police issue their final warning to protesters. Those who refuse to leave are arrested. The first arrest occurs at 4:15. Pro-democracy leaders, including members of HKFS and Scholarism, pan-democratic Legco members, elders, business people and celebrities, and many ordinary demonstrators stage a sit-in, not dissimilar to the one held on Chater Road on 1 July, and are arrested one-by-one by police, many of them carried away. The last of the sit-in demonstrators is arrested at 9 pm. Police report a total of 249 arrests. At 10:50, Harcourt Rd is re-opened to traffic for the first time since 28 September.


Two huge pro-democracy banners appear, one on Lion Rock and the other on Devil’s Peak, Lei Yue Mun. The one on Lion Rock says, “CY, step down!”, the one on Devil’s Peak, “I want real universal suffrage.” The banners are removed by the end of the day.


The last of the original three occupied areas, Causeway Bay, is cleared. 17 people are arrested. By 1 pm, the road is re-opened to traffic.

Protesters are also forced to move from the designated protest area outside of the Legislative Council building where they have been camped since September.

A new pro-democracy protest camp is set up on the pavement along Tim Mei Avenue, outside of the Legislative Council building. The camp will remain until 24 June, six days after the HK government’s political reform proposal is defeated in Legco on 18 June.

Police Commissioner Andy Tsang announces an investigation into the “principal instigators” of the occupations, which he hopes will be completed within three months. Over the coming months, 43 pro-democracy leaders will be called in to police headquarters for arrest. They refuse bail and are released unconditionally. The police never announce the completion of the investigation, nor say anything about the results.


A huge pro-democracy banner appears on Victoria Peak. It says, “Don’t forget the original goal!”

The organization, Police Violence Database in Umbrella Movement, is set up to investigate violence committed by the police. Existing police oversight and accountability mechanisms are considered ineffectual. The police have announced that 1,972 complaints have been made to the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO, an internal office of the Police Force) and have classified 106 of those complaints as “reportable”. The Independent Police Complaints Council, charged with monitoring CAPO, refused to observe the occupations until the day of the Admiralty clearance. The Police Violence Database in Umbrella Movement releases its report in summer 2015. As of March 2017, CAPO has upheld 0 complaints. The IPCC disagrees with it on one complaint, related to the beating of people on the street in Mong Kok by Police Superintendent Franklin Chu, but the IPCC has no power to enforce its decision. No disciplinary action has been undertaken by the Police Force against any officer.

The Clean Air Network reports dramatic increases in air pollution in the city after the clearance of the occupations and re-opening of roads, with PM 2.5 levels rising 40 percent in Mong Kok and over 80 percent in Admiralty and Central. CAN says the occupations showed the need for pedestrian zones in the city.


The results of a CUHK poll show support for the Legislative Council passing an HK government political reform proposal based on the hardline 31 August NPCSC ruling has increased from 29 percent before the occupations to 38 percent, while opposition has decreased from 53 percent before the occupations to 43 percent. Over the coming months, according to opinion polls, support for the reform package will rise slightly and level off at between 40 and 50 percent, and opposition to the reform package will decrease slightly and level off at between 35 and 45 percent. Arguably, neither the occupations nor the massive propaganda campaign by the HK government and Partystate in the lead-up to the Legco vote have a large enough effect upon public opinion to be decisive.

The first report emerges of police trying to remove minors arrested in connection with the occupations from their parents’ guardianship through custody and protection orders. This is a 14-year-old boy arrested during the clearance of Mong Kok. Custody and protection orders are usually reserved for cases of severe abuse or neglect. Public outrage at this police initiative will culminate in the “Chalk Girl” protests around the new year.


The Civil Human Rights Front, which organizes the annual July 1 and January 1 pro-democracy marches, announces the January 1, 2015 march will be postponed, and will occur instead after the HK government starts the second round of public consultation.


Police arrest 12 people during the night in Mong Kok in relation to “shopping tours”. Protests occur in Admiralty and Causeway Bay as well.


Police arrest 37 people during the night in Mong Kok. Policing of public gatherings has become highly restrictive and arguably infringes upon the freedom of assembly.


A huge pro-democracy banner appears on Devil’s Peak. It says, “Hong Kong, add oil!”


A huge pro-democracy banner appears on Lion Rock. It says, “Universal suffrage in CE election!”

A 14-year-old girl is sent to a children’s home following a judge’s approval of a police custody and protection request removing her from her family. The girl was arrested on 23 December for scribbling flowers in chalk around an umbrella made with masking tape on Lennon Wall and detained for 17 hours. This becomes the infamous “Chalk Girl” case.



Chalk Girl is released from the children’s home following a public outcry which included multiple protests, including people writing in chalk on Lennon Wall, against whom the police take no action.


A huge pro-democracy banner appears on Lion Rock. It says, “I want real universal suffrage.”


The HK government submits a “public sentiment” report to the central government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. This is the report it promised in the 21 October meeting with students detailing occurrences since it submitted its report and proposal to the NPCSC in summer 2014 as part of the five-step political reform process. The “public sentiment” report has no legal standing and nothing more is ever heard of it.


The HK government begins the second round of public consultation on political reform, picking up where the 31 August ruling by the NPCSC left off.


Police cease their effort to remove the 14-year-old boy arrested during the Mong Kok clearance from his home. Though police sought to remove both from their families, neither he nor Chalk Girl are ever charged with a crime, only arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime.

The Chief Executive repeats the claim he initially made in October that there was “foreign interference” in the occupations and pro-democracy movement, but he still presents no evidence to substantiate it.


The British Foreign Office says that the proposed Nominating Committee can offer “genuine choice”, the strongest indication yet that it backs the Partystate and HK government.


It is announced that tourist arrivals to HK increased 12 percent overall in 2014, including a 16 percent increase of arrivals from the mainland. This and other indicators such as the Hang Senx Index, property prices, and retail sales all suggest that, contrary to constant statements by the Partystate, HK government and their allies, especially business leaders, the occupations had no substantial negative impact on the HK economy. While there is more plausibility to claims that retail businesses in the immediate vicinity of the occupations suffered, no studies or credible indicators have emerged to substantiate even those claims.


HKU Student Union votes to leave HKFS. Up to now, HKUSU has been the largest and most dominant student union in HFKS.

HKU is one of five universities where referenda to leave HKFS are held. At four, HKU, Baptist University, Polytechnic University, and City University, the referenda pass. Only Lingnan University votes to remain in HKFS along with the universities where referenda have not been held, most notably CUHK.

There are several main reasons for the referenda: criticism of the undemocratic ways in which members of the HKFS secretariat are selected, criticism of HKFS leadership during the occupations, and criticism of HKFS’s commitment to democracy in China. For example, HKFS was a major force in the demonstrations in HK in 1989 supporting Chinese demonstrators and has always been a major participant in the June 4 candlelight vigil. As a result of the occupations, many university students have become disillusioned with anything having to do with China and say we should just focus on Hong Kong. This points to a trend: So-called “localist” tendencies are rising amongst HK young people, localism taking many aspects, from emphasizing HK identity and de-emphasizing Chinese identity, to moderate calls for defense of HK autonomy and the principle of self-determination, to more radical calls for separation from China and independence.


Rapper Common namechecks the HK Umbrella Movement in his acceptance speech for best song (for “Selma”) at the Academy Awards.


Just short of one year after the OCLP referendum, the HK government’s electoral reform proposal is defeated in the Legislative Council. Ever since the 31 August 2014 hardline ruling of the NPCSC, pan-democrats vowed to vote against any proposal based on it. In spite of that, the HK government never made any substantial effort or offered any concessions to change their minds. The vote becomes a humiliation for the pro-Partystate Legco members who stage a walk-out, apparently in the mistaken belief they can delay the vote. As a result, they are not present for the vote, and the proposal is rejected, 28 votes to 8.


The pro-democracy protest camp, which has existed on the pavement of Tim Mei Avenue outside of Legco ever since the occupations ended on 15 December, is cleared.

Human Rights in China also has a detailed timeline.

Written by

Author of ‘Umbrella: A Political Tale from Hong Kong’ and ‘As long as there is resistance, there is hope: Essays on the Hong Kong freedom struggle…’

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