Sat, Dec 13, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Protesters vow to rebuild ‘Lennon wall,’ physical and online versions planned

AFP, HONG KONG

Pro-democracy protesters have vowed to rebuild the famous “Lennon wall,” which sat at the heart of Hong Kong’s main protest camp, after it was swept clear by police.

The wall at the center of the camp became a patchwork of thousands of multicolored sticky notes carrying messages of support for protesters — a symbol of the pro-democracy movement that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for more than two months.

The sprawling camp of tents, supply stations and art installations in the Admiralty business district was cleared in a police swoop on Thursday.

Ahead of the clampdown, volunteers spent a night painstakingly collecting and photographing an estimated 15,000 messages plastered on the wall, which ran alongside a staircase at the side of a government building.

Now the protesters, who are demanding fully free leadership elections in 2017, say they will reassemble the display both digitally and physically.

“The event is not over for us, and the meaning and spirit of the wall is not lost,” said software engineer Allen Tang, 31, who helped to dismantle the wall and is overseeing its digital rebirth.

“We will continue to find different avenues to spread the message which the wall represents,” Tang said.

An online version of the wall will go up early next year and will include more than 13GB of photos of the notes, Tang said. Visitors to the Web site will also be able to add their own “electronic Post-Its.”

The notes are being held in temporary storage, and organizers also hope to recreate the wall in a physical exhibition.

Tang said options included displaying them in a warehouse.

The “Lennon wall” was inspired by the original in Prague, which became a focal point for dissidents to voice their grievances with the ruling communist regime in the 1980s, often using images and lyrics inspired by John Lennon and the Beatles.

The mission to save the Hong Kong display came as other groups made a last-minute mercy dash to save work from the protest camp, which became a creative hub filled with sculptures, paintings, posters and banners.

“It was very difficult for us to start peeling the Post-Its off. Some of us just stood there for some time before actually starting the removal process,” Tang told reporters.

By Thursday morning, the wall had been reduced to a slab of empty gray concrete.

Instead, campaigners had spelled out the words “We are dreamers” in yellow, pink, blue and green sticky notes, a reference to lyrics from John Lennon’s Imagine.

Now even those have gone.

Campaigners working to preserve the protest artwork say local museums have refused to take it.

However, a spokeswoman for Hong Kong’s cultural department said it had “not received any formal request about collecting or archiving the creative objects and artworks created at the Occupy Central protests.”

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