Saturday, May 2, 2009

It Made Me Tear!

A view from the streetIn December of 2005, we had an exciting event happen right outside of our building. Right up the street from where we live is the Hong Kong Convention Center. It is a wonderful looking building that hosts many conventions throughout the year.

This particular event was the World Trade Organization Conference. Because of the sensitive nature of the talks, it was expected that there would be lots of protests during the days that they were convened. Sure enough, the protesters didn't disappoint, and the streets around Gloucester Road were cordoned off and filled with approximately 10,000 protesters--3000 of them from Korea! Because it took place in front of our building, we could neither go in or out during the 3 days that they were camped outside--AND church was cancelled for our building. Basically, we were under house arrest!

Most of the time, the protesters sat peacefully on the road!

Of course, where their are protesters, you will also have the police! Several news stories reported that there were 9,000 police on duty. I am not sure if that is accurate, but I do know that a lot of them were outside of our building.

Some police standing in the alcove of our building!

Here is a quote from a news story about what happened on Saturday night... "On the Saturday of the summit the protests escalated as a concerted attempt was made to shut the WTO. Faced by lines of police the demonstrators tried to push their way into the conference centre. They but were met by vicious attacks by the police who used pepper spray, riot shields and batons to beat them back. At one point the police used a water cannon and fire extinguishers against the demonstration. Then without warning three rounds of tear gas were fired into the crowd melting it back away from the police lines. Another five rounds were later fired at the remaining protesters until all were cordoned off on a main road."

We were witnesses to the tear gas. When the melee erupted, it was a confusing mass of uniforms and protesters shoving at each other. We (Dad, the Garns, and the Oakes) were standing on the 12th floor balcony, watching this unfold. When the tear gas was released, it took about 40 seconds for it to reach us. It was unbelievable how fast acting it was! My eyes were smarting and immediately began tearing. My throat was raw and I began to cough. We quickly ran back into the apartment and closed the door--not venturing back out for the rest of the evening. It took about 15 minutes for the effects of the tear gas to go away. I learned first hand what a powerful weapon it can be. I would highly recommend wearing a gas mask if at an event where tear gas is on the program!


  1. We are all told about how powerful those things are but-wow! It reached you that fast! Cutting onion is bad enough for me! I am glad you were able to escape everything else.

  2. what a thing to witness! and i'm with jill — onions are enough for me! :)

    love you, mom!

  3. wow! are you sure you want to move back to slc?

  4. Holy Cow!

    makes my life seem so dull...

  5. Good night nurse! What drama. I hope never to experience tear gas.

  6. I can't believe this is the first I have heard about you getting tear gassed. Crazy! Good story though Mom.

  7. wow...first the taj mahal, now tear gas?! Bountiful will be boring after this!?

  8. Wow, that must have been a site, I can't beleive that happened. I feel so sheltered here in Utah.