Students vow to escalate protests if govt ignores their demands

June 20, 2019 16:14
Representatives of student unions of local tertiary schools said they are giving the government until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond to their demands. Photo: RTHK

Student unions threatened to escalate protests against the already suspended but not withdrawn extradition bill should the government continue to ignore their demands.

They gave the government until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond, otherwise, they said they will escalate their protests from Friday, possibly including a siege of the government headquarters and non-cooperative actions such as disrupting MTR train services, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The students are demanding that the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 be withdrawn completely, not just suspended.

They also want the government to take back its categorization of the clashes in Admiralty on June 12 as a “riot”, release and drop charges against all those arrested over the protest, and hold the police accountable for their alleged excessive use of force during the protest.

The student unions come from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the City University of Hong Kong, the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, the Education University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

A representative from the City University's student union said they find Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s apology during a press conference on Tuesday meaningless.

Jacky So Tsun-fung, president of the CUHK student union, sought to assure the public that student actions will be peaceful, with "no bloodshed".

A number of chat groups on instant messaging platform Telegram also issued a joint statement on Wednesday that if their four demands are not met by 5 p.m. Thursday, protests will escalate from 7 a.m. on Friday.

The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which organized two massive demonstrations against the extradition bill in the past two Sundays, met with pan-democratic lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss what their next moves.

They said after the meeting that they will offer support to the students in their fight.

CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said the group is making preparations for staging a large-scale march on July 1, although the group did not rule out launching other actions before then.

Sham said in a radio program on Thursday morning that the CHRF would play a participant role in the students’ actions.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching, convenor of the pan-democrats' meeting group of lawmakers, urged students to stick to the principles of “not shedding blood, not getting arrested, and not sacrificing life”.

The pan-democratic camp will closely monitor police behavior during the protests, she said.

On Sunday, the pan-dems will set up street stations in all districts to gather signatures in support of their demands concerning the extradition bill and the recent protests. They will also use the occasion to promote voter registration.

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