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Hong Kong students boycott classes after weekend of violence

2 September 2019 - 36   - 0

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hundreds of Hong Kong university and school students swapped classes for democracy demonstrations on Monday, the latest act of defiance in an anti-government movement that has plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its biggest political crisis in decades.

The boycott follows a weekend marred by some of the worst violence since unrest escalated more than three months ago, with protesters burning barricades and throwing petrol bombs, and police retaliating with water cannon, tear gas and batons.

Riot police on Monday patrolled the subway, known as the MTR, where some of the most violent clashes have erupted.

Hundreds of students gathered outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the city’s largest, taking turns to make speeches from a stage with a black backdrop embossed with “Students in Unity Boycott for our City”.

“I come here just to tell others that even after summer holidays end we are not back to our normal life, we should continue to fight for Hong Kong,” said one 19-year old student who asked to be identified as just Chan.

“These protests awaken me to care more about the society and care for the voiceless.”

Images posted on social media showed rows of teenagers lined up outside secondary schools holding banners. Many primary schools were closed because of a typhoon warning. Monday was the first day back after summer holidays.

Matthew Cheung, Hong Kong government chief secretary, told reporters that schools were no place for protests.

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