Hong Kong students challenge Beijing by boycotting classes
Thousands of black-clad students demonstrated Monday in Hong Kong, the first day of a two-week boycott campaign to keep up the pressure on a loyal local government in Beijing that has not done anything major concession to the democracy movement.
On a weekend marked by violent clashes between radicals and police, followed a day of various actions still testifying to the creativity of the movement.
On this day of school, high school students have formed human chains in front of their institutions while nurses lined the corridors with placards.
The former British colony has been experiencing its worst political crisis for three months since the handover in 1997, with almost daily action to denounce the growing interference of China in the internal affairs of this semi-autonomous region.
Beijing, which has shown unwavering support to the Hong Kong government, has increased threats and intimidation.
“The end is near” for the mobilization in favor of democracy, warned late Sunday the official news agency China News in an editorial, without giving more details.
“A form of learning”
This did not stop Monday morning protesters dressed in black, the symbolic color of the movement, to target the subway again, blocking in some stations the doors of the oars to prevent them from leaving.
The magnitude of the disturbances, however, was incommensurate with the chaos generated on August 5, when the entire network of ordinary remarkable efficiency had been paralyzed for several hours.
For three months, students have been the backbone of a very young movement. They are found as much in the front line, among those who throw bricks on the police, as in the rear, forming the bulk of the demonstrating crowds.
“It’s the first day of classes, but I still want to demonstrate,” a 19-year-old student calling Tommy in central Hong Kong told AFP. “Manifesting is also a form of learning,” he says.
In larger hospitals, nurses lined the halls with placards, including “Standing for Hong Kong”.
One of them judged the movement condemned, saying that Beijing would make no compromise.
“But we must nevertheless get up and say something. At least we showed the world what is happening, “she told AFP on condition of anonymity.
In the morning, high school students formed human chains in front of several public high schools. In one of them, a statue of Sun Yat-sen, who proclaimed the Republic in China in 1912, was decked out with a gas mask and goggles.
“Hong Kong is our home. We are the future of the city and we must take our responsibility to save it, “said a 17-year-old student calling himself Wong.
The movement was born in June from the rejection of a bill that would authorize extradition to China. The suspension of the text by the executive was not enough to extinguish the mobilization that has considerably broadened its demands.
These all refer to the denunciation of a decline in freedoms and growing interference from Beijing in violation of the principle “One Country, Two Systems” which had presided over the retrocession in 1997.
Hong Kong had a day of one of the most violent protests since the beginning of the movement. Protesters have burned a huge barricade a hundred meters away from police headquarters and police have chased protesters into the subway stations, hitting some in the trains.
The next day, thousands of demonstrators sought to block access to the airport and about fifteen flights had to be canceled.
On Monday, the Hong Kong Minister of Security warned that the violence was “almost out of control.”
“I call on the public to reject violence, to maintain order in our society and to protect the rule of law,” Lee told Ka-chiu to reporters.
The image of Hong Kong, hitherto considered a stable financial center, has been shaken by the current movement. The number of tourists has plummeted and hotels and businesses are facing a significant drop in their turnover.