Thousands of students held a rally on Monday to kick off a two-week class boycott at 11 tertiary institutions across Hong Kong, warning of more radical action if the government ignores their demands related to the now-abandoned extradition bill. That came hours after more than 1,000 secondary school pupils, many skipping classes, attended a separate rally to send a defiant message that months of civil unrest would not recede with the start of the new term. At the older students’ protest, held at Chinese University (CUHK), a sea of black-clad people flooded the University Mall, a large open space on the Sha Tin campus. Many wore face masks and hard hats. Student representatives read out a joint statement, calling on Hongkongers to continue pushing for protesters’ five demands to be met. The demands include the extradition bill’s formal withdrawal and an inquiry into the police’s handling of the protests, which have roiled the city since June 9. Be it bullets, be it white terror, be it the totalitarian regime, whatever obstacles stand in our way shall never be enough to break our determination Students’ joint statement “Be it bullets, be it white terror, be it the totalitarian regime, whatever obstacles stand in our way shall never be enough to break our determination,” the statement read. Throughout the rally, the crowd chanted: “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our time.” Students from the 11 institutions planned to boycott classes for two weeks, from Monday. And the peaceful rally carried warnings of more radical actions. Quoting former US president John F. Kennedy, a female student representative said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Hong Kong police act quickly as protesters disrupt MTR again Speaking before the rally, Jacky So Tsun-fung, president of CUHK’s student union, remarked that some government supporters had branded the institution a school for “rioters”. “If going against an evil law and tyrannical rule gives us the name of rioters, we gladly accept,” So said. Before the rally formally began a mainland Chinese student, waving his passport, ran onto the stage and yelled: “Leave! You do not deserve to be university students.” He tore up a flag and tried to move the speaker, before other students stopped him. Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said he supported the police, and that students’ fundamental role was to learn, not to boycott classes. Speaking after the rally, So estimated that 30,000 people attended. Although campus bosses had called for the events to be scrapped, he added, staff were cooperative at the rally, which was organised by the student unions of CUHK, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University, Baptist University, Lingnan University, Education University, Shue Yan University, Hang Seng University, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Open University. Three faculty staff approached at CUHK declined to speak on the record. In a meeting with about 200 new first-year students on Monday, City University president Professor Way Kuo urged students to express their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner, adding that “street politics must not be brought to campus”. Over on Hong Kong Island, secondary school pupils had been arriving at Edinburgh Square in Central since as early as 9.30am, having skipped school completely. Others streamed in at about noon after classes finished early on the first day. Organisers said later that more than 4,000 students from at least 230 schools attended. “We came here on the first day of school because we want to show that we will not put a pause to the movement just because we have school,” said a Form Six pupil from Raimondi College, who only gave her name as Alice. “Students will still support the other protesters.” Billy Chan, in Form Six at St Paul’s College, said the action was different to others used by the movement. “There are only students here, so it can best represent the voices of young people. I hope adults in the city can listen to us, because any extradition laws passed will affect us the most,” Chan, 17, said. Students at St Francis’ Canossian College in Wan Chai – alma mater of city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor – also made their voices heard. “Since we are so young, what we can do is very limited but boycotting classes is the best way to express ourselves,” said Kat, a 13-year-old pupil there. “We’re very disappointed in Carrie Lam and embarrassed to be her successors.” The rally – organised by groups such as Demosisto, Demovanile and Anti-Foo – was postponed for 90 minutes to 12pm because of bad weather. It was later interrupted for 10 minutes by torrential rain, which forced rally-goers to rush to a nearby tunnel and building for cover. A Form Three pupil surnamed Ho claimed to have been among the first batch of students to arrive at 9.30am – but not many of his peers were as enthusiastic about the cause as he was. Those who come out today are already prepared for the risks. If we don’t use our voices, we may never have the chance to do so again Ho, Form Three pupil “Lots of students in our school pretend nothing has happened and won’t talk or do anything about the situation,” Ho said. “Those who come out today are already prepared for the risks. If we don’t use our voices, we may never have the chance to do so again.” Ho hoped Lam’s government would address protesters’ five demands, which include a complete withdrawal of the extradition legislation and an investigation into the police’s use of force. A booth run by almost 60 social workers was providing counselling for pupils troubled by recent street violence. One of them, Florence Cheung, said: “Many students may have heated arguments with their parents over the political controversy lately. We are here to listen and talk to them.” Supporters of the movement also prepared 200 boxes of food – such as hamburgers, fries, pork chop buns and sandwiches – for the students. Among them was Duff Li, who is in his 20s and works in education. He said: “Lots of students are coming here hungry. Fighting for freedom and democracy is the responsibility of our generation but we’ve placed this burden on [the students].” At Edinburgh Place, people are moving a tent to avoid the rain Video: SCMP/Gigi Choy pic.twitter.com/lWAOhIeK0C — SCMP Hong Kong (@SCMPHongKong) September 2, 2019 Isaac Cheng Ka-long, vice-chairman of Demosisto, condemned what he called a climate of fear created by police officers standing outside schools like La Salle College and St Mary’s Canossian College on Monday morning. “It takes an enormous amount of courage for students here to come out today. Many do so because of the unprecedented violence last weekend where officers beat up passengers in Prince Edward station,” he said, referring to officers’ action to track down protesters in the station on Saturday night. “We appeal to teachers, parents, sponsoring bodies and school management to back us up and support our cause.” Kipper Cheung, 18, turned up with a Harry Potter-inspired placard which read: “If the student of Hogwarts can defeat the Death Eaters, HK student will defeat HK police.” “I wanted to use a humorous way to support students who are boycotting class,” said the student at HKU SPACE.