A day prior to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong secondary students are gathered at a class boycott at Chater Garden in Central as part of the anti-government movement.
Netizens also called for a general strike today, urging people to rest at home and reserve energy for tomorrow’s rallies and protests.
Preparatory Platform of Class Boycotts in Secondary Schools – co-founded by student groups Demosisto, Demovanile and Anti-Foo – said on their Instagram account that a rally would take place at 12.30pm. The Letter of No objection from the police commissioner allows them to stay until 8pm.
The Platform encouraged participating students to wear their school uniforms at the assembly. The general public is also welcome to join.
Meanwhile, later today from 5pm to 9pm, there will be a joint-school assembly at Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin with singing, sharing from students and guests, and film screening sessions, according to the student concern group of Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School.
Students from Chai Wan and Siu Sai Wan will also join hands from 7pm to 10pm at Siu Sai Wan Complex for a “National day of mourning” event.
In Tin Shui Wai, there will be a joint-school human chain activity that stretches across a 2.3 kilometre-route from Tin Shui Wai MTR Station to Tin Sau Road Park from 8pm to 11pm.
Young Post be updating this piece with additional photos and information.
[Update: 7.36pm ]
This is the end of our live reporting from various student-led rallies across the city. Follow us on Instagram @youngposthk for further coverage tonight.
[Update: 7.30pm, Morse Park]
A form five student surnamed Ling from Po Leung Kuk No.1 W. H. Cheung College said he attended the assembly for the future of himself, the people around him and the future generations.
The 15-year-old said he was shocked to see the police deploy tear gas just 100 metres away from him on June 12, the day when tear gas rounds were first fired in the city this year at the start of the anti-government movment.
"I also felt very sorry for not being able to do more for the movement, such as attending the public rallies, given the strong opposition from my parents who have been extremely worried about my safety." However, Ling added that he has been trying to play a part in the movement by helping with the making of promotional materials.
[Update: 7.13pm, Morse Park]
[Update: 7.06pm, Morse Park]
A Year One Hong Kong Polytechnic University surnamed Chau, said he learned about the event from his alma mater Po Leung Kuk No. 1 W. H. Cheung College's student concern group.
"I think this venue (the open air theatre), which is seldom used but is a place that many senior citizens and housewives will pass by, is a great platform to raise awareness about the anti-extradition movment." He added that it was important to promote the message across different age groups, especially to housewives and the elderly who usually read pro-government news coverage from channels like TVB. "I hope they could try to listen to the voice of the youth."
[Update: 6.44pm, Morse Park]
A form five student from Buddhist Hung Sean Chau Memorial College urged other student participants to never stop practising their critical thinking, whether it's analysing what they see in the news, to pondering the direction of the movment.
"Only by doing so can we ensure we will not be manipulated by hatred, or create a new community that is governed by totalitarianism - which is no different to China."
[Update: 6.13pm, Morse Park]
There were also a few mobile Lennon Walls for students to write down messages on.
[Update: 5.48pm, Morse Park]
Meanwhile on the other side of the harbour at Morse Park in Wong Tai Sin, another rally is being held by students from schools in the district.
[Update: 5.45pm, Chater Garden]
Students sang a final rendition of Glory to Hong Kong as a wrap up to today's rally. Vice-chairman of pro-democracy Demosisto Isaac Cheng Ka-long announced that the rally had officially ended and said around 1,500 students attended.
A student representative also urged students to dress in black on the Dress Casual Day planned for October 10.
[Update: 5.12pm, Chater Garden]
[Update: 5.12pm, Chater Garden]
Tommy Yuen, a member of former local boy group E-kids, led the students in singing what has been called the protest’s anthem, Glory to Hong Kong.
[Update: 3.58pm, Chater Garden]
Lau (left) and Chan, 15-year-old students from Sheng Kung Hui Tsoi Kung Po Secondary School in Ho Man Tin, boycotted class to attend the rally today. They were wearing masks and wanted to make a reference to the movie V for Vendetta.
“It represents the people’s unity,” said Lau. “We will keep coming out until all five demands are met.”
Although their school allowed them to build a Lennon wall on campus, it also tore down some of the sticky notes put up by students.
“The school teaches us about respect, but I don’t think they’re respecting us at all,” said Chan.
They spent three hours earlier today to draw and print some posters that they distributed at the rally. Lau also connected a black ballon on her hair tie which read, “rather die than to live in silence”.
When asked if they were afraid that the school would punish them for skipping classes, Lau said, “We won’t be scared and silenced, because we did nothing wrong.”
[Update: 3.21pm, Chater Garden]
Boyz Reborn, a local youth band who covered and created a lot the protest songs, performed their original songs including “When we were 18” on the stage. They urged the students to never give up on their dreams.
[Update: 3.14pm, Chater Garden]
Agnes Chow also showed up on the stage and said that even as an activist, she had not participated in a class boycott. She said she really appreciated the students’ courage for coming out today.
[Update: 2.51pm, Chater Garden]
Lawmaker Jeremy Tam said that “no cutting ties”, a principle that protesters uphold, shouldn’t only be applied among the protesters, but within the community too.
“If you cut ties with people who share a different stance, then you’ll never be able to influence them.”
He added that the reason why one of the demands was changed from the resignation of Carrie Lam to universal suffrage was that only a democratic system can help avoid the loopholes of the current situation.
[Update: 2.33pm, Chater Garden]
Fok, a 12-year-old student at Ying Wa College, shared on the stage that he had seen protesters even younger than him in the streets. He then asked, “Carrie Lam are you sick? Even primary school kids came out!” He also said that the protests were generally peaceful when the police were absent. “Clearly, the only people that are destroying Hong Kong’s stability are not us, the so-called rioters, but the ‘dogs’, (a reference to the police)."
[Update: 2.18pm, Chater Garden]
[Update: 1.57pm, Chater Garden]
Lee, a 16-year-old student at Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Yuen Long), walked out of class today to join the rally.
He wanted to tell other students who are still staying in the classroom, “Stop lying to yourselves. The future belongs to us, no one will fight for it except us.”
“We can study whenever we want, but if Hong Kong is entirely controlled by China, there’ll be no point to study anymore because we won’t have any freedom and we’ll only receive brainwashing messages.”
[Update: 1.49pm, Chater Garden]
Keung (left) and Chan, 14-year-old students from a school in Ap Lei Chau, came after the school’s sports day in Wan Chai Sports Ground. They both came behind their parents’ backs, as they were afraid they would be very worried and not allow them to come. Regarding the National day protest tomorrow, Keung said, “I’m coming out no matter what, because everyone is equally needed in this movement and can make a difference already. Hong Kong’s future is very unpredictable right now, we have to fight while we still can.”
[Update: 1:34pm, Chater Garden]
[Update: 1.30pm, Chater Garden]
HKFEW Wong Cho Bau Secondary School student Adam shared that it's been the fourth consecutive week of class boycotts at his school. He alleged his school threatened to punish participating students by giving them demerits, and not letting them proceed to the next form next year.
He alleged that when they were chanting slogans outside the school this morning, the school called the police. A total of seven police showed up with weapons and round shields and searched the students. Adam said one of the police even attempted to snatch away a student’s mobile phone.
[Update: 1.21pm, Chater Garden]
[Update: 1pm, Chater Garden]