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Hong Kong protests: Students boycott class on first day back

Student protesters Image copyright EPA
Image caption Students joined several rallies planned for Monday

Thousands of secondary school and university students have boycotted classes in Hong Kong, in the latest pro-democracy protests.

Organisers say 10,000 pupils from 200 secondary schools did not turn up for the first day for the new school year.

The student action comes on the same day as a call for a broad two-day strike and large rally.

Protests over the weekend saw some of the worst violence in weeks between protesters and police.

On Saturday, protesters threw petrol bombs, lit fires and attacked the city’s parliament building while police used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and fired live warning shots.

Hong Kong is now entering its 14th successive week of demonstrations.

The protests were sparked by changes to a law that would allow extradition to mainland China, but have since widened to include calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality and universal suffrage.

Who is protesting on Monday?

Early on Monday, activists disrupted train services at different stations causing major rush hour traffic delays. Services resumed later on Monday morning.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police was on high alert on Monday morning

Secondary school students later gathered at Edinburgh Place in the city’s central district.

“I am willing to take any disciplinary consequences,” one student from a college in the district of Sham Shui Po told Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post.

Many of the students were wearing eye-patches to show their solidarity with one activist who during the earlier weeks of protests was injured in the eye in clashes with the police.

The boycott was organised by local party Demosisto and several student groups.

Images on social media also showed students forming human chains outside several secondary schools in the city.

A Hong Kong court on Monday overturned the government’s decision to disqualify Demosisto candidate Agnes Chow from a parliamentary by-election last year.

Ms Chow was arrested last week along fellow Demosisto activist Joshua Wong but has since been released on bail.

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), hundreds of university students have also begun gathering to protest.

The university’s Student Union said in a Facebook statement that a “city-wide class boycott” would be held later on Monday at CUHK’s University Mall.

The union said the university had “contacted” them to cancel the rally but that they would “maintain our original plan”.

The student protests coincide with a broader two-day strike beginning on Monday with another large rally planned for the afternoon.

What happened last weekend?

Monday’s strike comes as the city is still reeling from a weekend of protests that turned into violent clashes between police and activists.

On Sunday, pro-democracy protesters blocked roads to the city’s airport, disrupting the operation of the major Asian transport hub.

Trains to the airport were halted and roads blocked so that passengers had to walk to the terminal. Most flights operated as normal, but delays were reported.

On Saturday, police and protesters clashed during a banned rally.

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Media captionBlue-dyed water fired at protesters by Hong Kong police

Hong Kong riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse crowds as tens of thousands marched in the city, defying a ban.

Officers also fired live warning shots as they tried to clear the streets.

Protesters lit fires, threw petrol bombs and attacked the parliament building. A number of people were later held as they fled into metro stations.

A guide to the Hong Kong protests

Image copyright Getty Images

Source: bbc.co.uk

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