Independent new year fairs awash with protest goods - RTHK
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Independent new year fairs awash with protest goods

2020-01-18 HKT 22:07
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  • Protest-related merchandise and goods like these on sale in Mong Kok are banned from the traditional Lunar New Year fairs this year. Photo: RTHK
    Protest-related merchandise and goods like these on sale in Mong Kok are banned from the traditional Lunar New Year fairs this year. Photo: RTHK
Independent Lunar New Year fairs have opened in various districts of Hong Kong in the run up to the holiday period, with some stalls offering political and protest-related novelty goods that the government has banned from its traditional markets.

The protest art and crafts on sale include many a Pepe the Frog and LIHKG pig, with all manner of toys, badges, Lunar New Year 'fai chun' banners and other merchandise boasting slogans and references to things like tear gas, yellow hard hats and the anti-government movement's anthem "Glory to Hong Kong".

A man surnamed Yuen who organised one of the fairs, in Mong Kok, said he hopes it will offer a more personal touch and better unite people than the annual Victoria Park flower market.

Protesters were encouraging people to also visit other independent markets this weekend in Sai Ying Pun, Hung Hom, Lai Chi Kok, Sai Kung, Kwai Chung, Sai Wan Ho and San Po Kong.

But some stall operators alleged that the authorities had tried to prevent the fairs from going ahead in some places, refusing permission for the planned venues.

In Mong Kok, a man surnamed Cheng who was selling various products inspired by the protest movement, accused the government of political persecution after officials refused to approve a similar market planned near the Hung Hom Ferry Pier, citing safety concerns.

Some businesses which had hoped to join that fair ended up moving their stalls to a nearby seafood retail square instead.

Western District councillors also said they had failed to get government approval for a planned fair in Sai Ying Pun, but set up street booths instead, selling various local handicrafts.

In November, the government announced that only flowers and snacks would be allowed to be sold at its Lunar New Year fairs this year "in view of the current social situation". As well as the flowers, the fairs are also known for their wide range of quirky goods which often poke fun at local politicians.