• A Hong Kong ice cream shop now offers a tear gas flavour as a reminder of pro-democracy protests, the Associated Press reported.
  • The owner told the AP, that it's meant to inspire people to persist and not lose passion for the protests, which are likely to come back.
  • Protests in Hong Kong started in June 2019 and carried on mostly till the city began fighting the coronavirus.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A Hong Kong ice cream shop is now offering a tear gas flavour, as a sign of support for the pro-democracy movement, the Associated Press reported.

The owner of the shop who spoke with the AP anonymously to avoid repercussions said the flavour was made to remind people "that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don't lose their passion."

Anita Wong, a customer at the shop who tasted the ice cream and experienced tear gas at a protest, told the AP that the flavour made her want to drink water right away.

"It tastes like tear gas. It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it's really pungent and irritating. It makes me want to drink a lot of water immediately," Wong told the AP. "I think it's a flashback that reminds me of how painful I felt in the movement, and that I shouldn't forget."

The ice cream's main ingredient is black peppercorns, "a reminder of the pungent, peppery rounds fired by police on the streets of the semi-autonomous Chinese city during months of demonstrations last year," the AP wrote.

The shop owner told the AP that while he tried different items like wasabi or mustard, black pepper was the closest to tear gas especially with the way it could irritate the throat.

"We roast and then grind whole black peppercorns and make them into gelato, the Italian style. It's a bit hot, but we emphasise its aftertaste, which is a sensation of irritation in the throat. It just feels like breathing in tear gas," he told the AP.

The owner told the AP that prior to social distancing measures, he was selling about 20-30 scoops a day.

In June 2019, a proposed extradition bill which would have allowed residents of semiautonomous Hong Kong, to be tried in mainland China, prompted protests, Business Insider previously reported. The bill was pulled in September but student-led protests continued and called for democracy.

According to the AP, authorities in Hong Kong said more than 16,000 rounds of tear gas were fired during the protests.

Business Insider also reported of a video that went viral in November of a woman being pepper-sprayed in the face and then tackled by Hong Kong Police. They added that authorities also fired pepper spray in several districts and claimed protestors "vandalised shops and facilities in several malls, causing breach of the peace."

Hong Kong has been dealing with containing the coronavirus outbreak. While the pandemic may have subdued protests, the AP reported that there is "widespread expectation" that more are likely be later, and police are already out searching for large gatherings.

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