“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” cried Howard Beale, the ranting television anchor in Sidney Lumet’s 1976 flick Network, as he urged viewers to thrust their heads of their windows and repeatedly scream the phrase.
Driven to the edges of sanity, the ill-fated protagonist lets loose against what he saw as the corporate injustices of the world – not by protesting, but by simply belting out his rage.
Hong Kong protesters have perhaps taken cue from the noisy tactics espoused by Lumet’s character in what has been dubbed the “Million Scream” — a call, that began on August 19, to shout protest slogans from apartments every night at 10pm.
When the clock strikes the hour, a chorus of cries can be heard reverberating across districts, with slogans popularised by pro-democracy protesters — including “five demands, not one fewer” and “Hongkongers, add oil” — echoing between high-rises.
The grassroots practice represents one of the more playful tactics adopted by protesters in the recent wave of unrest, sparked by the government’s controversial extradition bill, now-pending withdrawal. Meanwhile, netizens have touted the practice as a way to spread the message of the movement while expressing frustration and showing solidarity among supporters.