Outside of the Hong Kong Space Museum, hundreds of Hongkongers enjoyed a rare night off from tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday.

Dubbing the gathering a "stargazing night," activists rallied for a peaceful assembly at Tsim Sha Tsui and projected colored lasers onto the museum's white, dome-shaped exterior.

Hongkongers who participated in the event wore neither masks nor protective gear, and riot police were not present. The spectacle, however, was a form of protest against the arrest of a student leader over purchasing 10 laser pens.


Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images

People watch the dots of laser pointers move across the facade of the Hong Kong Space Museum during a flash mob staged to denounce the authorities' claim that laser pointers were offensive weapons in Hong Kong on August 7, 2019

"Hongkongers finally had a break. It was so damn peaceful without the black cops. I had already gone home after work but I decided to come out to Tsim Sha Tsui because I desperately needed some positive energy," said Chen, a light show participant whose first name is omitted for anonymity.

The Hong Kong police held a press conference in the afternoon to demonstrate how laser pointers could burn through papers. Protesters who were skeptical of the police demonstration made several humorous attempts to set objects on fire with laser pointers outside of the space museum. Some tried to light cigarettes with the laser pens, others were chanting for the museum itself to catch on fire.

Throughout the night, they sang uplifting Cantonese songs and chanted the slogan "reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times."

Many Hongkongers had a night of relief and laughter from the spectacle. Even those who did not attend the light show could share the sense of joy and resilience through photos and videos on social media. For a night, the protesters took a breather from the ongoing physical violence and emotional turmoil. No arrest was made. No tear gas was fired. No one was being tackled by a dozen police officers.

"I think the police are having low morale. They're exhausted just like we are so they're just taking a break tonight," Chen said. "If they stop acting like thugs all the time, protesters would be much more cooperative too."

READ NEXT: A Visual Review of Hong Kong's Artful Protest

TNL Editor: Daniel Kao (@thenewslensintl)

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