Umbrella Square Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella_Square

Umbrella Square
People's commune
Crowds refuse to disperse from Harcourt Road, creating Umbrella Plaza
Umbrella Square on 29 September 2014
Umbrella Plaza
Map of the Umbrella Square
Map of the Umbrella Square
Coordinates: 22°16′46″N 114°09′51″E / 22.2795155°N 114.164129°E / 22.2795155; 114.164129Coordinates: 22°16′46″N 114°09′51″E / 22.2795155°N 114.164129°E / 22.2795155; 114.164129

Umbrella Square[1][2] (Chinese: 雨傘廣場), also called Umbrella Plaza,[3] describes a large roadway in Admiralty, Hong Kong occupied by protesters during the Umbrella Movement protests[4][5] in September 2014. On 11 December 2014, after 74 days of occupation, the area was cleared by the police and reopened to motorised traffic.[6][7]


The area became completely pedestrianised area after the 28 September 2014, when the Hong Kong police decided to employ tear gas against peaceful protesters. The use of teargas by the police brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area.

Geography and delimitation[edit]

Umbrella Square comprised virtually the entire lengths of Harcourt Road, and Tim Mei Avenue.[8] There were barricades on each end and on roads leading to or off both roads, numbering 21 in total.[6]

Initially an informal term by the occupiers, "Umbrella Square" became a recognised name as people continued to occupy the site.[4][5][8] The name became incorporated into maps. During the 2014 Hong Kong protests the area was home to around 2,000 tents of varying sizes,[9] many of which were given addresses by the residents. It was reported that postal services delivered to Umbrella Square tent addresses, although the Hong Kong Post officially denies having done so.[10][11]


Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian described Umbrella Square as a "high-functioning utopian collective blocked off by a handful of elaborate barricades". Upon entering, Kaiman observed that "the overwhelming feeling is one of entering an art fair, or a music festival – protesters sit on the pavement cross-legged, strumming guitars and checking their smartphones. During the day, tourists amble through the crowd, snapping photos with SLR cameras; at night, hundreds, sometimes thousands of supporters gather to hear speeches and performances."[5]

Provisions (such as biscuits, soft drinks, toilet paper, face masks, and bottled water) were donated, and distributed to occupiers and visitors passing through.[5][12]

Facilities and infrastructure[edit]

Students representatives on the podium on 11 December 2015, the eve of clearance of Umbrella Square

The public toilets in the vicinity were equally well-stocked with toiletries.[5] Local architects have noted how the occupiers re-purposed the square from the roadway and adapted it to functional use; they created ad hoc architecture, such as barricades, supply infrastructure, recycling stations cinemas and libraries.[13] Art and infrastructure was added on a constant basis. Showers were erected, along with composting and electrical charging stations.[14] More than a hundred tents were available for rent, under condition that they be kept clean.[12] In a workshop area, volunteer carpenters built steps, as well as desks and benches for students in the ad hoc study areas.[5][12]

Notable areas included the Lennon Wall, the Study Zone, and Dark Corner – where the beating of a protester by seven police officers was captured on film and broadcast in a TVB news bulletin.[15][16]

There was also a central podium where nightly talks and rallies were held, adjacent to which there was a press compound.[5]

The encampments were referred to as "villages".[citation needed] Stickers and labels alluding to social change, freedom, and democracy were attached to road signs. Occupiers' flimsy tents were often given grandiose addresses such as "Umbrella Court" or "Democracy Gardens", parodying names given to luxury property developments in Hong Kong, an increasingly unaffordable city.[17]



The movement was composed of many fractious groups, but had no leadership or formal organisation overall.[18] However, colours and members of the Labour Party, Democratic Party, Civic Party, CTU, League of Social Democrats and People Power were regularly seen in Umbrella Square.

Time magazine described the organised chaos of the protest sites as "classical political anarchism: a self-organizing community that has no leader."[19] Teams of volunteers working in shifts deal with garbage collection and recycling, security and medical care.[19][20]


  1. ^ Elizabeth Barber. "Hong Kong's Protest Camps Are Organized Better than the Protests". Time.
  2. ^ Timmons, Heather. "Someone should preserve Hong Kong's protest art before it's too late". Quartz.
  3. ^ "Student, Occupy leaders announce vote on government's reform proposals". South China Morning Post.
  4. ^ a b Noble, Josh (17 October 2014). "HK's 'Umbrella Square' takes on identity of its own". Financial Times.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Kaiman, Jonathan (2 November 2014). "Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Square' one month on: how are protesters living?". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b Siu, Jasmine (12 December 2014). "Sweeping end to 75 days of occupation". The Standard
  7. ^ "Hong Kong protests: Arrests as Admiralty site is cleared". BBC. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b Sridharan, Vasudevan (10 October 2014). "Hong Kong Braces for Fresh Occupy Protests, Activists to Form 'Umbrella Square'". International Business Times.
  9. ^ "Hong Kong, une révolution artistique et numérique" (in French). Slate. 7 December 2014.
  10. ^ "The Main Hong Kong Protest Site Is a Perfect Anarchist Collective". Time.
  11. ^ "Local Mail Delivery Service". Hong Kong Post. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Lily Kuo. "The best life hacks from Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement protests". Quartz.
  13. ^ Tsang, Emily (10 December 2014). "Mapping out the protest sites for history". South China Morning Post.
  14. ^ Schumacher, Mary Louise (6 November 2014). "The enchanting art of Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  15. ^ Lam, Oiwan (29 October 2014). "Take a Photographic Tour of Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy 'Umbrella Square'". Global Voices. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Hong Kong Police 'Kick And Punch Handcuffed Protestor' In Dark Corner in Shocking Video". The Huffington Post UK. 15 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Fun with puns: 'Umbrella Terms' a new weapon in Hong Kong democracy battle". GMA News Online.
  18. ^ Gwynn Guilford. "Hong Kong is attacking the protest movement's biggest weakness—its fragmented leadership". Quartz.
  19. ^ a b Elizabeth Barber / Hong Kong. "Hong Kong Protests: Anarchism in Action". Time. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Hong Kong protests: Instant architecture and the Occupy Central 'village'". The Straits Times. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]