Friday, 26 September 2014

Support and Tensions Rising in HK

Student protestors hung out at Tamar again for another night...
In the last few days, people have been posting their student pictures on Facebook and now I know why -- they are showing their solidarity with the student protestors, now out occupying the Central Government Offices at Tamar.

While friends and colleagues can't be out with the secondary and university students demanding universal suffrage, they are trying to show their support virtually.

Today there were some 1,200 secondary students who joined the fifth day of boycotting classes, which is far more than what Scholarism organizers led by Joshua Wong Chi-fung had expected.

"We originally thought only 100 students would join the strike. The turnout is 15 times our estimate and is complete out of our expectation," said the group's spokesman Agnes Chow Ting. "[The turnout] reflects there's a need to reform the [political] system... the government should listen to public opinion."

Secondary students had been warned to get permission from their schools and parents before being able to attend the sit-in. While some did get permission from both, or were even accompanied by a mother or father, some defied both to listen to speeches about democracy and civil disobedience.

Ho Ho-yin is a Form Five student in Ng Yuk Secondary School in Sha Tin, who joined the boycott with six classmates.

"The central and local governments have completely ignored Hong Kong people's voice, so I believe a stronger action, like a class boycott, could prompt the officials to listen to us," he said.

A woman named Mrs Lam who accompanied her Form Five daughter to the rally said: "I support the students to boycott classes if they have the ability and independent thinking to understand what's going on," she said. "The government has faked Hong Kong people over political reform and I do not think the reform proposal could still be amended in the future."

Students storming Civic Square tonight
The latest development now (11.30pm local time) is that some students have managed to break into Civic Square, the forecourt outside Central Government Offices. Some forced their way through a gate, while others climbed over the security fences -- catching the police off guard.

As they stormed the gate, the students shouted, "Open the gates!" What followed were chaotic scenes and police finally managed to secure the square with a few dozen students still inside.

There are reports that Scholarism's Joshua Wong has been arrested, along with three others, and there are unconfirmed reports that pepper spray was used.

At least three people were injured and attended to by paramedics...

It's going to be a long night...

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