|Umbrella Man, by the artist known as Milk.|
The ‘Umbrella Movement’ in Hong Kong may or may not be over but these have been the largest protests seen in China since Tiananmen Square. The protests demand free and fair elections, and public opinion polls during the protests showed about 60% support for the protesters.
Unlike the Occupy protests in the United States, the Hong Kong protesters have been noticeably tidy, polite, and nonviolent. The term 'Umbrella Revolution' was adopted by the media because protesters brought umbrellas with them to protect themselves from pepper spray. However the protesters themselves rejected it, because they do not want to be seen as revolutionaries. Their request is a finite one: they want open and fair elections.
This movement has been accompanied by a flowering of extemporaneous art. The most-widely reported example is a large statue created of wooden blocks, called Umbrella Man. He stands ten feet tall and clutches a yellow umbrella in his hand. His face is white, to represent the tear gas and pepper spray endured by student activists.
Umbrella Man faces a wall of bright Post-It notes. News venues show these walls in many places, representing many thousands of hand-penned messages.
A protest movement so gracious that it has time for art—what a contrast with the Occupy movement in America.
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