HONG KONG -- It is another remarkable visit to Hong Kong. And this David versus Goliath story continues to fascinate us, as it does the world. The mostly young people taking to the streets seem to have no fear.
They have utter determination to achieve their aims against the Beijing-backed local authorities.
In a word, they are going for democracy.
“We are here to fight for the freedom of Hong Kong,” one protester told Fox News.
Another said, “If we still continue to fight, then we still have a chance.”
After four months of unrest, that fight is getting hard. When we were first here in June, it was a mostly peaceful protest, aimed at a proposed law locals feared could propel them into the notorious Chinese judicial and penal system.
During this latest visit, it seemed like “out-and-out warfare” between the two sides. It’s also kept us on our toes while covering it.
Tuesday’s protest, coinciding with China’s National Day, was described by officials as the worst for Hong Kong. Activists hurled gas bombs and rocks. Police responded with water cannons, rubber bullets and, in one case, a real one that injured a protester.
More than 100 people were hurt that day. Nearly 300 were arrested. Authorities now seem to say: “Enough is enough.”
“The ongoing and escalating violence poses a severe challenge to the rule of law,” Hong Kong’s Administrative Secretary Matthew Cheung said this week.
But protest leaders tell us it’s the authorities to blame for the escalating violence. Officials have been denying permission for peaceful rallies, nudging activists toward violence.
“People feel that they don’t have the ‘safety path’ to walk on,” Civil Human Rights Front’s Bonnie Leung told Fox News. “So they feel the need to escalate their actions.”
Now authorities are looking to take it further. With new protests planned, there's talk of curfews and other emergency measures, including a ban on masks used by protesters not just to protect against tear gas – but to hide their identities from official surveillance.
There's also more talk about how this struggle could go on.
Analysts tell us Beijing could be playing a “long game,” certain it'll win in the end and rein this territory in.
When we speak to the young people, they half-admit they know this could be a losing – dangerous – cause. But they remain steadfast.
“I think it will make Hong Kongers even more united,” one said, “and even more determined to achieve our goal.”