In the latest installment of the unrest convulsing Hong Kong, thousands of students bypassed the first day of the new school term on Monday to join the quest for democratic reforms.
An estimated 30,000 students from both high schools and universities united at the Chinese University – donning helmets, masks, goggles, and signs including “Reclaim Hong Kong,” “Boycott for Freedom,” and “Chief Executive: Are you willing to listen to the voices of the little sisters from your school?”
Moreover, hundreds of school students took to the streets in the central business district, encircled by riot police. Authorities also apprehended protests attempting to impede train doors amid the Monday morning peak hour rush.
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Students wear protective gear during a protest in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 2. (AP)
The student-driven demonstrations come on the heels of yet another tense weekend in Hong Kong, in which tens of thousands continued their protest against the administration, led by the embattled Carrie Lam.
Lam admitted during a closed meeting with business leaders – according to audio obtained by Reuters – that she would step down if given the option.
“If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit,” she reportedly said. “Having made a deep apology.”
However, Beijing has maintained its firm support for Lam in what many analysts deem to be China’s most significant political impasse since the Tiananmen Square upheaval of 1989.
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Students in black join a strike on the first day of school at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. (AP)
Protracted demonstrations have gripped Hong Kong – a special administrative region under China’s umbrella – since June. The chaos erupted after Lam’s administration put forward legislation that would give mainland China the power to extradite suspected criminals to face trial in their courts.
While the proposed law was suspended, the anti-government protests have only burgeoned – marred with distrust toward Lam and demands that the entire proposal is withdrawn. Lam, under pressure from her Beijing backers, has so far refused.
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The view from Beijing is that the “masked radicals” have brought “chaos and vandalism” to Hong Kong, according to South China Morning Post, embarking on illicit and violent tirades to force leaders to “cower” to their demands.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
SOURCE : https://www.foxnews.com/world/hong-kong-students-skip-school-protests