Thousands of students dressed in white tees with yellow ribbons gathered at the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus in Sha Tin yesterday to begin a week-long rally urging for universal suffrage, Apple Daily reports.
Organizers estimated that around 13,000 students ditched classes to attend the peaceful sit-in just outside of the university. The rally, initiated by groups like Hong Kong Federation of Students, will carry on at Tamar Park as students boycott classes for the rest of the week.
The protests come nearly a month after Beijing’s ruling denying Hong Kong voters the right to publicly nominate candidates in the 2017 chief executive election.
This week’s student protests are a prelude to a larger-scale protest on October 1 planned by pro-democracy group Occupy Central. Occupy has vowed to stage a massive sit-in at Hong Kong’s central financial district in response to Beijing’s approval of the voting reform, which only allows voters a choice from a list of two or three candidates selected by a nominating committee.
“University students must shoulder the responsibility of these times,” Nathan Law Kwun-chung, president of the student union of Lingnan University, said to crowds of students gathered at the university yesterday.
“Boycotting classes is just the first wave of resistance,” Law said. “Today is not the last step for us all. It’s the first step, and countless resistance campaigns will bear fruit.”
The university’s main quad and surrounding areas were crammed with students and teachers from at least 25 colleges. Over 20 teachers were seen holding banners reading: “I am a teacher and I support the strike”
SCMP estimates that around 400 academics and non-teaching staff are taking part in support of the students.
[Images via Apple Daily]
By Christy Lau & Katie Nelson