Asia-Pacific News

CNBC on the ground: A peek into the bags of HK protesters

Ansuya Harjani | Stephen Doyle
Getty Images

There were no signs that pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong plan to back down as the protest ended its first week.

Tens of thousands of defiant protesters continued to occupy key thoroughfares on Thursday, bringing parts of the city to a standstill.

The protest has grown, but remains uncharacteristically peaceful and orderly. Student demonstrators are doing their homework in the streets, while volunteers are collecting garbage from protesters.

CNBC took to the streets of Hong Kong to gain insight into the daily lives of protesters, many of whom have been camping outdoors for days.

Inside a protester's backpack

Protesters are traveling light. Eighteen-year-old Mohammed Saqeb carried just four items in his bag: a cap, a towel, body spray, and an umbrella – the weapon of choice in this civil disobedience movement.

Photographer | CNBC

The movement has been dubbed the "Umbrella Revolution" for protesters' use of umbrellas to shield against the volleys of pepper spray and tear gas by the city's riot police last weekend.

The movement is very organized. Food, water and masks are being provided at hundreds of supply stations, so protesters only need to bring essentials.


Staying connected

Social media has played a critical role in widening the scope of the protests. Hong Kongers are using popular websites like Twitter and lesser-known ones such as FireChat to organize and document the movement.

Young protesters have set up charging stations for mobile phones and laptops to ensure that they remain connected.


"Most of the organizing happens through word of mouth and social media. Overall, I think interest is growing," Hong Kong resident Kam Wing Pang, who attended the protests with his wife and two children on Wednesday, told CNBC.

"Students are boycotting the classes to attend all day, but the general public go when they have the time, typically in the evenings," said Kam, who works as a lawyer.

The effectiveness of the protests remain to be seen, but Kam remains optimistic: "At least we are telling the world we care about our rights and democracy."