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'Democracy Dogs' add bite to Hong Kong protests

By K J M Varma
October 04, 2014 12:35 IST
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Dogs are adding an additional bite to the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as the demonstrators blocking the central part of the city for about a week brought their pets into the agitation fondly calling them “democracy dogs”.

The dogs added colour and banter to otherwise tense week-long Occupy Central agitation by thousands of youth and students which was marred by confrontation with police who used pepper spray and tear gas.

Pro-democracy protesters stop an anti-Occupy Central protester from going near their tent on a main street at Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

One of the “democracy dogs,” as fellow protesters affectionately called them, was chihuahua Snowy, who accompanied her owner, 29-year-old public relations worker Jan Pang, to the protests in Central.

French bulldog Meimei had goggles and a mask with her “just in case", said owner Alex Holm. Holm said he couldn’t vouch for Meimei’s precise political views, “but she (is) definitely pro-democracy,” Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

“Democracy dogs” also made an appearance in Mong Kok, drawing large crowds hoping for a photo opportunity. “I’m sure it won’t bite,” one parent was heard telling to her child.

Demonstrators hold signs and umbrellas in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy marches, at Times Square in New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

“It will only bite Leung Chun-ying,” he said, referring to Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Chief Executive who resisted calls by protesters to resign.

Former British colony Hong Kong which was integrated with China in 1997 is governed by Beijing under one country two system. The agitators protest over Chinese plans to vet 2017 elections for the chief executive.

Dogs weren’t the only animals at the demonstrations. Hong Kong’s most famous stuffed toy, Lufsig, was also spotted adorning a provisions tent for protesters.

The IKEA (the Swedish multinational store) toy wolf became a symbol of anti-government sentiments after a protester threw it at chief executive CY Leung at an event in December 2013.

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K J M Varma
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