Date
17 October 2017
Protesters have fashioned a tank out of an umbrella, a tent and empty water bottles at an occupied zone in Admiralty. Photo: AFP
Protesters have fashioned a tank out of an umbrella, a tent and empty water bottles at an occupied zone in Admiralty. Photo: AFP

Protesters press on after two leaders return to teaching jobs

Protesters pledged to press on with their Occupy campaign even after two organizers of the civil disobedience movement decided to resume their university teaching duties.

Joshua Wong, leader of the student activist group Scholarism, said the move by Occupy convenors Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man to return to the classrooms won’t have any negative impact as the students are determined to pursue the pro-democracy campaign.

There is growing pressure for the protesters to end the protest, which began on Sept. 28 and is now entering its second month. 

The Hong Kong government has offered some concessions, including continuing the dialogue on political reform beyond the 2017 election and submitting a supplementary report on the protests to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

But the students, unable to secure their demand for public nomination of candidates to the 2017 election, have seen no reason to abandon their campaign.

Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said they were considering options such as labor strikes and class boycotts to expand the movement to wider communities, RTHK reported.

Tai said the decision to return to his responsibilities at the university was “an adjustment” rather than a “retreat” from the pro-democracy protest, Ming Pao Daily reported.

“My colleagues have offered enormous help over the past month for rescheduling class arrangements, but that has reached the limit, and I need to go back teaching now,” Tai was quoted as saying.

He stressed that he would not “retreat” from the movement, and he would continue to stay at the protest sites after finishing his work.

“Everyone has to make adjustments to their lives, taking into account their physical condition, emotions and family relationships,” Tai said, adding that such adjustments will help keep the movement going.

A protester surnamed Chang criticized the decision of the two Occupy convenors to return to their teaching duties, saying it would hurt the morale of the protesters, RTHK reported.

“They have the responsibility to act as role models for the protest and they should think how to press ahead with the movement,” said Chang, who has camped out at the Admiralty protest site for two weeks.

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JZ/MY/CG

Freelance journalist

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