High school and college students join pro-democracy protests
Hundreds of students boycotted classes in Hong Kong to join pro-democracy protests on Monday morning as they returned from summer vacation. Protesters also disrupted rush-hour trains by standing in front of metro station doors, AFP reported. They had called for a general strike.
High school students formed human chains outside public schools before classes began. Some wore the paraphernalia now customary for protesters to escape police action, such as gas masks, helmets and goggles.
Students also gathered outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong and delivered speeches from a stage with a sign saying “Students in Unity are boycotting our city,” Reuters reported. Social media images showed teenagers holding banners outside high schools.
A 19-year-old student said, âI come here just to tell others that even after the summer vacation is over we haven’t returned to our normal life, we have to keep fighting for Hong Kong. These demonstrations awaken me to care more about society and the voiceless. “
Many primary schools have been closed following a typhoon alert.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said schools were not a place for protests.
On Sunday, 25 flights were canceled as protesters blocked roads and public transport to the airport. The city experienced one of its worst clashes on Saturday night and Sunday morning as police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters.
Saturday’s protests took place on the fifth anniversary of China’s decision to restrict democratic reforms and exclude universal suffrage in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.
The protests were originally organized to oppose a bill that would have allowed extraditions to China. They have now evolved into a backlash against the city government and its political masters in Beijing.
The government has refused to accept one of the protesters’ main demands, which includes a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill in addition to an independent investigation into the excessive use of police force against the protesters. They are also calling for the resignation of city leader Carrie Lam.
Beijing last month claimed that criminals and agitators are fueling violence, encouraged by foreign powers such as Britain and the United States.
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