Protests erupted at four tertiary education institutes in Hong Kong today, with the ongoing demonstrations against the government polarising society to an extent not seen since the Umbrella Movement five years ago.
At the Hong Kong Design Institute, students were in an uproar after the school broke its promise to respond to student demands for the CCTV video of a student who had died, sparking conspiracy theories about the manner of her death.
Yesterday, after a dialogue with HKDI senior management, students refused to let Principal Ong Lay-lian leave. Ong claimed she was feeling unwell and an ambulance was called. But students prevented the ambulance from leaving. Eventually a deputy principal took over, and promised more talks would be held at 1:30 pm.
Students vandalised school facilities and a group of police armed with shotguns and batons appeared on campus. After a 10 minute stand off with students, officers left. Later, fire damage to the campus was discovered along with what was thought to be a Molotov cocktail.
At the Open University of Hong Kong, a planned closed-door dialogue session was turned to an open one with media allowed in after objections from students. Students appealed for support from the university, but got no answer, even after they knelt to beg President Wong Yuk-shan and his aides to condemn the police's handling of the protests. Their pleas fell on deaf ears and after about an hour, the students left.
At Polytechnic University today, a flash mob of fresh graduates wearing V for Vendetta masks and Winnie the Pooh costumes protested against university head Teng Jin-Guang's refusal to shake hands with two students who wore masks to their graduation ceremony on Sunday.
Students waved banners and flags, sung the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong and shouted slogans.
At Hong Kong University, students intercepted university President Zhang Xiang as he was leaving a meeting. They demanded a second public dialogue session after he had attended one on July 18. A petition for new talks and for Zhang to condemn alleged police brutality was signed by more than 2,600 students, alumni and staff.
Zhang promised to seriously consider the possibility, but would not make a solid committment. He left the scene, escorted to his car by security guards. Students chanted protest slogans and accused him of "cowardice" as he left.