BlizzCon has arrived, and with it the promised protests. Blizzard's suspension of a Hearthstone player over their call for Hong Kong's liberation has been looming over the convention, with even the US Congress chiming in. We'll be following the protests all weekend, so keep an eye on this liveblog.
10:10 am PST: "We want to raise the issues in Hong Kong to the gamers here. We want them to understand what's going on there, and that what's happening in Hong Kong with the crackdown from China is also affecting businesses here, as you can see what happened with Blizzard Entertainment," Charles Lam, a member of Hong Kong Forum Los Angeles, told us outside the convention center. Lam says his group, which he describes as a leaderless movement, is assisting contacts in Hong Kong with distributing t-shirts at today's event.
The Freedom Hong Kong protest at #blizzcon pic.twitter.com/4dkATqSMvZNovember 1, 2019
9:37 am PST: If you’re wondering, police are nowhere near the protesters. They are on scene but just as they normally would be at a crowded convention. Blizzard is making no effort to move them whatsoever. One thing is clear: it’s not a protest against Blizzard’s political speech policy, but a “liberate Hong Kong” protest.
In any case, the vibe is pretty muted outside the convention center. I count around 20 obvious protesters at my entrance. It’s essentially them just saying “free t-shirt” to people walking by.
#Blizzcon is happening today! We’re distributing #MeiWithHongKong tshirts & flyers at 7am-12pm outside the venue. Come catch us!Our media frds: pls inbox us if you want a copy of our press release!HD ver of our flyers: https://t.co/DMf61qifG4#FreedomHK #StandWithHongKong pic.twitter.com/035lOG6SNnNovember 1, 2019
9:20 am PST: Now the protest truck has arrived.
It's a bit ominous.
The protesters have given out a lot of shirts and stickers so far, but most people are walking around them to get to security. There are police in the area, but like the convention employees they are completely ignoring the protesters.
9:00 am PST: With BlizzCon 2019 about to begin, a group of around 25-30 protesters flying Hong Kong flags has gathered outside the security checkpoint. Convention employees seem to be ignoring them as they hand out tshirts featuring Overwatch's Mei, who's become a symbol of the Blizzard boycott and protests.