The Issue: Hong Kong
What started off as peaceful protests in Hong Kong escalated to involve tear gas and riot police on Sunday. Occupy Central with Love and Peace (Occupy Central, for short), a civil disobedience movement proposed by democracy activists in Hong Kong, organized the protests, according to the BBC. They want political reform and democratic elections and plan on protesting the Chinese government’s ruling against open elections in 2017. The BBC reported the group took its name from the 2011 Occupy Wall Street Protests.
The protests turned violent on Sunday when another group, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, organized a sit-in urging students to boycott classes and workers to strike, said the New York Times. Their main reason for the protesting? “The protestors focused their anger at a plan for electoral changes introduced by Beijing last month for the first time would let the public vote for the city’s chief executive, beginning in 2017,” the Times reported.
According to Reuters, Communist Party leaders in Beijing are concerned about these calls for democracy spreading to mainland China. That led to the phrase “Occupy Central” being blocked on Weibo, a Chinese social network. So far, there have been 78 arrests in the protests
The Issue: ISIL
The New York Times reported the Pentagon confirmed it had conducted its first strikes against ISIL targets in Syria, along the Turkish border. “Symbolically, though, the modest strikes around Kobani (the area that was targeted) demonstrated some American and Arab commitment to the direct defense of the Kurds in an area that, village by village, has been falling to Islamic State forces,” the Times reported.
The BBC reports United States-led coalition aircraft have targeted four makeshift ISIL-controlled oil refineries. Along with the U.S., countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated in the attacks. There are approximately 40 countries in the coalition, including five Arab states.
On Friday Great Britain, Belgium and Denmark joined the coalition and committed warplanes to its efforts, the Associated Press reported. Denmark is planning on sending seven F-16 fighter jets, plus four operational planes and three reserve jets, along with 250 pilots and support staff for 12 months, according to the AP. Lawmakers there have yet to approve this measure, but it is expected to pass.