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A Hong Kong family shaken by protests

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 4, 2019 - Duration: 03:05s

A Hong Kong family shaken by protests

Protester 'Yan' heads to the frontline of Hong Kong's protests in defense, he says, of his home.

His father also goes to the frontline, but in a very different uniform.

He's in Hong Kong's police force, and their story symbolizes the greater rift between families and communities in this embattled city.

Michelle Hennessy reports.

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A Hong Kong family shaken by protests

News coverage from Hong Kong often focuses on the latest twist to the months' long protests.

A protester shot at blank range.

A police officer stabbed in the neck.

A city on edge.

But with every clash and shedding of blood, communities and families are being torn further apart.

It's the weekend, and Hong Kong is seething with unrest.

One young protestor is hitting the street, in defense, he says, of his home.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese), 17-YEAR-FRONT LINE PROTESTER, YAN, SAYING: "The people of Hong Kong have to resist.

Do not become the next China.

Do not let Hong Kong become just like the mainland." Yan is at the frontline in a trademark black top, hard hat and gas mask.

It's the unofficial uniform of the movement.

His father also heads to the front line.

But Yan's dad wears a very different kind of uniform.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese), 17-YEAR-FRONT LINE PROTESTER, YAN, SAYING: "I am a son of a police officer.

Actually my family didn't oppose my participation in the protests, they just do not want me to be hurt.

No injuries, no arrests." Yan lives in what was once a mostly pro-China district - called Wong Tai Sin.

Tens of thousands of working-class families call this concrete jungle home.

But reminders of Hong Kong's worsening crisis are never far out of sight.

And communities like these are being divided by the movement.

One mother in the neighborhood recalls a night she was separated from her daughter during a sudden outbreak of violence.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese), FULL-TIME-MOM, AH BI, SAYING: "I have to teach my daughter a new way to survive.

In the past, I would tell her if anything happens, seek help from the policemen.

But my daughter was their target.

If you approach them, they may arrest you." Thousands have now been arrested, in a city of no more than 8 million people.

But every weekend, the protesters are by no means short staffed.

Their anger started over a proposed new law, which their unelected leader tried to ram through the system.

It's now sparked a movement over much deeper resentment.

Toward a government out of touch with its people.

And the threat - protesters say - of Beijing trying to creep its way into this city's very different way of life.

On the frontline, Yan fears what the future will hold for him, and his father.

SOUNDBITE (Cantonese), 17-YEAR-FRONT LINE PROTESTER, YAN, SAYING: "I do worry.

Because if I am arrested, I might end up meeting (my dad's) colleagues, and I am worried it would affect his work." 2019 has put an end to years of relative calm in Hong Kong.

And many communities and families are now left wondering how they'll heal from the movement.

Even after four months, there's little end in sight.

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