The crowd lining up recently on a cold, dark Hong Kong street wasn’t part of the anti-government protest movement that rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for months.
Their demand: surgical masks, now in short supply as fears grow over a new virus that has claimed more than 1,000 lives across the border in mainland China and one in Hong Kong. The city’s often-tumultuous street protests had already slowed over the past two months. Now they have ground to an almost complete halt as attention focuses on how to avoid a recurrence of the SARS pandemic, which killed about 300 people in Hong Kong in 2002-03.
But with most of the protest demands unmet, it’s too early to declare the movement dead.