Hong Kong protesters are calling for fresh action on Friday in the form of a human chain across the city in support of democracy, on the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way.

A user on the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, often used by protesters to discuss ideas, came up with a plan called “The Hong Kong Way” on Monday morning. It is uncertain how many people may join the protest as yet.

The Baltic Way, or Baltic Chain, refers to the protest on August 23, 1989, when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain of over 650 kilometres across the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — calling for independence from the Soviet Union.

Baltic Way
Baltic Way. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kusurija.

The European Union observes August 23 as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, commonly known as Black Ribbon Day.

The plan on LIHKG calls on Hong Kong people to gather at around 7pm on Friday on sidewalks along the three main MTR lines in Hong Kong — the Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line and Island Line — and hold hands, creating three human chains across Hong Kong Island and the New Territories as a form of peaceful protest.

human chains
Proposed human chains. Photo: LIHKG.

“The Baltic states showed the world they were united. Hong Kong residents are united now as well. All of our five demands must be fulfilled, especially our main demand: universal suffrage,” said the user “Spring Worm,” who started the thread.

“We urge the central and Hong Kong governments to listen to the strong public opinion of Hong Kong people fighting for democracy and freedom, and implement universal suffrage immediately.”

human chains
Photo: Telegram.

“What is more important is that we will attract the focus of international media, to show the international community our determination and unity to fight for democracy. We will push Hong Kong up to a higher position in the international agenda, in the hopes of more international support,” the user added.

The other demands include a full withdrawal of the controversial bill, the retraction of the characterisation of recent protests as “riots,” the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, and the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into the events since June.

august 18 CHRF china extradition
Photo: May James/HKFP.

On Sunday, organisers – the Civil Human Rights Front – estimated that 1.7 million people joined a peaceful rally around Causeway Bay and Fortress Hill, though they did not keep count of those who marched towards Central.

Meanwhile, a group of protesters plan to host a march in Kwun Tong on Saturday to reiterate the five demands, as well as to protest the government’s introduction of a smart lamppost initiative, citing privacy concerns.

The government has said it will not activate certain functions on its smart lampposts, following a public backlash. They said the devices do not have any facial recognition functions and data will not be passed onto third parties for unauthorised use.

Posters for marches on August 24 and 25. Photo: Telegram.

A march around Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing has also been proposed for Sunday.

Organisers of both events said they have been in talks with the police.

There were also calls for protesters to take public transport, bicycle or drive to the airport on Saturday to create traffic jams as a form of protest.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.