U.S. Markets closed

Photos: Hong Kong’s students went on strike in support of protests

Isabella Steger
Uniformed high-school students sit on the ground during a protest at Admiralty in Hong Kong, on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.

Today’s back-to-school day will be one to remember for students all across Hong Kong, as thousands of youngsters in high school and universities boycotted class in support of the ongoing protests.

The school strike followed an unprecedented weekend of violence in Hong Kong, where protesters set a barricade ablaze, police fired live rounds and beat up and arrested passengers inside subway stations and carriages, and train stations around the city were vandalized.

Today’s school strike (Sept. 2) is the latest action in the months-long protests that kicked off in June with opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill. The protests have turned increasingly violent as public anger reaches boiling point with the government’s continuing refusal to meet any of the protesters’ demands, and as police adopt more heavy-handed tactics deter people from turning out on the streets. The youngest known person to have been arrested so far in the protests was 12.

Indeed, many of the protesters right at the frontlines of the street battles now commonplace in Hong Kong are teenagers. Today, many who chose to take part in the strike expressed their support by wearing protest gear such as helmets, face masks and goggles—including a group of students at chief executive Carrie Lam’s alma mater, a Catholic all-girl school. Many students boycotted class to attend a larger sit-in later in the day in the city’s Central district, where those who joined the call for a general city-wide strike were also gathered. Thousands of students also rallied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong later in the afternoon, filling up the main atrium area in a sea of black.

The government has condemned the school strikes, with Matthew Cheung, the city’s no. 2 official, saying that politics should be kept out of the classroom.

Two schoolgirls participate in a boycott of their classes in protest against the government in Hong Kong on September 2, 2019

With heavy rain falling for most of the day, student protesters sported rain ponchos and sheltered under umbrellas.

A secondary student covers one eye reading "Hong Kong" in memory of a woman injured in an earlier pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019.

A high school student covers one eye in memory of a woman injured in a democracy protest last month.

Policemen in riot gear stand guard as a group of high school students gather inside the Kowloon Tong subway station.

Students protest at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong September 2, 2019

A protesting student dressed as a human “Lennon Wall” during the boycott of classes.

Students attend a school boycott rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Students attend a school boycott rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Statue of Lady Liberty Hong Kong seen at Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, September 2, 2019.

Ahead of this week’s protests, this statue—Lady Liberty Hong Kong—was installed at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The statue, who’s walking on tear gas, is a nod to the Goddess of Democracy made by Tiananmen Square protesters.

Students attend a boycott rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong with Pepe the Frog, who’s become part of protest imagery. His right-wing symbolism isn’t known here.

Christian students sing hymns at the Chinese University of Hong Kong rally.

A mainland Chinese student holds up his China passport in defiance of protesting Hong Kong students during a strike on the first day of school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

School students boycott classes as they take part in a protest in Hong Kong.

 

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief, our free daily newsletter with the world’s most important and interesting news.

More stories from Quartz: