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A friend living in Paris has come to visit. She wanted to get away from the abnormal heatwave and "emmerdee" politics there. So I lent her a black tee and got her to walk with the crowd. 


It was a lovely summer evening. No cars in sight except a police van parked on a flyover. In the far end of Connaught Road a phalanx of policemen in riot gears with body-length shields was holding ground. The setting sun was shining on their backs, putting them in shadow. 


On the other end was a sea of protesters with their umbrellas and hard hats, some waving American flags, behind a thrown-together barricade. In the no-man's-land,  a couple walking their dog and tourists pulling their suitcases. 


Few years ago my friend had joined an angry demonstration in Paris. The city government diffused it by putting trucks in the boulevards armed with loud DJ music and disco dancers. Free beers were handed out. Some protesters made some lamed attempts to uproot road signs and phone booths. But the whole uprising didn't hold out very long that weekend.


Later that evening we went into a bar to rest our feet on a side street in Sheung Wan. We were the only customers. It felt rather nice not to have traffic around. While catching up with gossips over a few drinks, suddenly we heard gunshots and shouting coming closer towards us. Then a few sweat-soaked black-clad people stumbled in, followed by eye-stinging tear gas and torch light.  I can't describe this sudden change of mood. We looked at each other, both gripped by palpable terror for our lives.

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