Catapulting Hong Kong into democracy? Media glorifies ANARCHY & ‘novel, defensive’ anti-police weapons of protesters
As anti-China protesters transform Hong Kong universities into “weapons factories” and arm themselves with petrol bombs, mainstream media is increasingly impressed by their ingenious and “novel” methods of taking on riot police.
Universities across Hong Kong are shuttering their doors and foreign students fleeing the chaos, as protesters hurl bricks, fire javelins, construct “watchtowers” and start fires on campuses, insisting that they have “no choice” but to resort to the most violent methods.
Yet, mainstream coverage is focusing little on the danger posed to those caught in the crossfire and instead adopting a more admiring tone, which focuses on the students’ ingenuity and the contents of their eclectic armories.
AFP, for instance, glorified the “novel arsenal” of weapons being used by students to “defend themselves” from police – from bow and arrows looted from sports stores to “giant makeshift catapults.”
The news agency posted a video of black-masked activists hauling a massive hand-crafted wooden slingshot across a bridge, which was apparently being used to attack police officers from afar, seemingly in offense rather than defense.
AFP even produced a handy graphic showing photographs of all the types of weapons being used, including molotov cocktails and stockpiles of bricks ripped up from street pavements.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reported that the students are “combining new tactics with medieval tech” and The New York Times described a “hard-core activist” who set a man on fire during an argument.
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Reuters detailed how protesters have “fashioned garden hose and nails into spikes to puncture car tires” and even wielded “electric saws” against officers during the “purposeful anarchy.” Though, the news agency did acknowledge that the increasingly violent methods create “a new level of risk for all sides.”
The coverage of Hong Kong provides a sharp contrast to that of the French Yellow Vest protests, during which anti-government activists were often disapprovingly branded as “rioters” in Western media. Similarly, despite their own brutal tactics, the media often sympathized with French police who were described as simply trying to restore public order.
The admiring coverage of the Hong Kong students’ latest tactics is hardly surprising, given that CNN published a how-to guide for anti-China protesters only a few months ago, complete with a list of all the materials one would need to battle police on the streets.
Indeed the risk to civilians is huge. A 70-year-old street cleaner is in critical condition after being hit in the head with a brick while he was clearing the bricks protesters had left around the Sheung Shui metro station. Video footage shows the man lying on the ground unattended as protesters continue to fling objects at police.
Footage has also emerged of a “pro-democracy” mob violently attacking and beating a woman who disagreed with them on the street. Yet, there has been next to no Western coverage of these incidents as the media prefers to focus on the heroism of protesters.
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