Hong Kong high school students added their voices to the anti-extradition demonstrations engulfing the city, as they formed human chains on school campuses across Hong Kong on day two of a general strike from various sectors of the community.
In one incident outside the Confucian Tai Shing Ho Kwok Pui Chun College in Tai Po., a student was hospitalized after police chased a group of students, and as shown in a video shared online, wrestled the boy to the ground. Police are claiming the boy and the officer slipped, “Our officers gave chase, just to conduct inquiries,” a spokesman told government broadcaster RTHK. “During the process, several people including our officers fell on the ground because of the slippery floor. Some were injured and sent to the hospital for treatment and no arrests were made,” as reported by RFA.
At the schools of Holy Trinity College and The Church of Christ in China Ming Yin College, around 200 students formed a human chain in support of protests outside their schools in Shek Kip Mei, some wearing face masks, and chanting, “Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution in our time!” and “Meet all five demands!” as reported by local media.
In support of the protests, 40,000 city workers from dozens of different sectors began a two-day strike with a rally on Sept. 2. “If the government does not respond to the five major demands before the deadline on Sept. 13, we will make a decisive escalation, including but not limited to longer strikes,” a spokesman said. On Sept. 4, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam formally withdrew the controversial bill, which many say is too little too late.
After the suspension of the legislation in mid-June after millions took to downtown streets to protest anger among citizens had increased since then, with clashes between protesters and riot police becoming more violent. there have been reports of injuries on both sides and hundreds of arrests have been made. Tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and water cannons have been used by police, with protesters throwing bricks, firebombs, and other objects.
Following events over the weekend, the Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) is calling for an independent public inquiry into police behavior. “Video footage from the Prince Edward MTR station last Saturday night show[s] riot police launching indiscriminate attacks without any apparent lawful excuse and using pepper spray on passengers inside a train compartment or hitting them with batons, especially since the officers in question left the train carriage afterward without making any arrests,” the HKBA said in a statement on its website on Aug.3. “Excessive crowd dispersal techniques have included the indiscriminate use of tear gas (including inside an MTR station) and the shooting of crowd control projectiles at shoulder height level or above at close range,” the HKBA said, adding that beatings during arrests are “widespread.”
The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA) has also complained over its treatment by police at the Prince Edward station, “Many reporters and photographers were expelled during their reporting and filming without any reasonable explanation,” it said, calling on the police to “provide a reasonable explanation for their action.” Isaac Cheng, the deputy chairman of the pro-democracy political party Demosisto was attacked by three unknown men, “Our vice-chairman @IsaacChengCKL was just assaulted near his home in Tai Wai by three men,” the tweet said. “He was repeatedly punched in the face and lost his glasses. Our members are now accompanying him to a hospital check-up,” tweeted Demosisto.
The assault followed the arrest of their chairman Ivan Lam on charges of “illegal activity,” together with two other of their leaders, who were released on bail on Aug. 30. “We have seen marches of one, two and 1.7 million Hong Kong people on the streets even after the government arrested people, so there is no way to stop this movement through intimidation,” Cheng told RFA. “The use of force by the government and the police is increasingly disproportionate and outrageous,” he said. “We believe that our pursuit of justice and democratic values weigh more heavily than these attempts at intimidation.”