An estimated 50,000 people at student strike, organisers say

An estimated 50,000 people at student strike, organisers say

The student-led pro-democracy protest is continuing outside government headquarters, but police have warned protestors to leave

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Protestors continue to sit outside the government headquarters
Protestors continue to sit outside the government headquarters

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Protestors are sleeping on the street as some have been at the protest since yesterday.
Protestors are sleeping on the street as some have been at the protest since yesterday.

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Civic Square after it's been cleared by police
Civic Square after it's been cleared by police

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Protestors were put into shuttle buses after being removed from Civic Square
Protestors were put into shuttle buses after being removed from Civic Square

[UPDATE - 10.30pm, September 27]

Organisers said there is an estimated 50,000 people at the strike area, despite most of the entrances to the government headquarters being blocked off by the police.

They asked protestors at Lung Wui Road to help prevent police vehicles from entering, while police officers guarding the Legco carpark can be seen putting on their helmets.

Protestors at the front of the crowd near the carpark have been told to put on their helmets, rain coats and goggles in anticipation of police action. 


[UPDATE - 8.30pm, September 27]

HKFS has said they have the Letter of No Objection To Rally until 11:59pm tonight. However the police has blocked roads leading to Tim Mei Avenue, forcing protestors to find alternative ways to join the rally.

According to a police statement released earlier today, they arrested 61 people aged between 17 and 58 for unlawful assembly, including one for possession of an offensive weapon, in the afternoon. In a previous statement, they explained their response to last night's events.
 


On social media, groups such as Occupy Central and United for Democracy: Global Solidarity with Hong Kong are asking for support globally. Protests are expected to take place today in nine cities across Europe and North America including New York City, London and Vancouver. 

 


[UPDATE - 5.30pm, September 27]

The crowd is growing bigger and bigger as more people arrive outside the government headquarters. Earlier today, we spoke to several students protesting there.

Polaris Tang, 19, says she will stay outside the government offices until the police leaves. She thinks it is unfair that students were forcibly removed from Civic Square, because even during the national education protests people were free to enter the area.

"We're just trying to get back what we should have. Hong Kong has changed so much these years, and they're sending out the message that we'll never have true universal suffrage."

Mo Lau Tzar, still in his school uniform, had been there for 28 hours since the joining the class boycott activities yesterday, and has only slept for 1-2 hours.

The Form Six student was one of the protestors who was pepper sprayed, and his parents called him to go home after seeing him on the news. "But with so many citizens and students still staying here, I can't leave... I will stay until tonight if I need to," 18-year-old Mo says.

He adds he is afraid of being physically hurt or arrested, but is prepared for it because protestors have declared civil disobedience.

"I never thought it'd turn out to be the war that it is now. It's even bigger than (Taiwan's) Sunflower Revolution. It's a turning point in history."

And is he worried about his studies? "You can go get your certificate, but then you realise Hong Kong is no longer the Hong Kong you used to know. Would you still want to work here?"


[UPDATE - 3.30pm, September 27]

Hong Kong Federation of Students is considering extending the class boycotts and is calling on citizens to join the rally tonight at 8pm. They have not applied for permission to hold this rally.

They demanded answers from the police as to why so much pepper spray was used against demonstrators last night. They condemned the police for the use of excessive force and said more civil disobedience will come if the government doesn't listen to their demands. 

Gary Fong Chi-shun, External Vice President of CUHK Student Union and a member of the standing committee of HKFS, demanded the release of students detained this afternoon, saying they had not attacked police, and had only been trying to get into "Civic Square", which is a public place, and that the police's violent response was excessive. He vowed that the remaining HKFS members will stay outside the government offices until their demands are met. 

HKFS Secretary General Alex Chow, Vice Secretary General Lester Shum, and the chairperson and vice chairperson of Baptist University were among those arrested, Fong said. The group's legal team is already working for the release of the students detained.


Police have cleared all students from “Civic Square” in the forecourt of government headquarters at Tamar, as thousands of people gathered outside in support of the students. They were taken away from the site in three shuttle buses.

Meanwhile, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convenor of student activist group Scholarism, who was arrested on Friday night, has been denied bail; the other 12 people arrested last night have been released, according to the Civic Party’s former lawmaker Tanya Chan.

It is understood that Wong has been charged with three different offences.

Police announced at 1.20pm that some 50 protesting students, who had been surrounded by metal barricades since they broke in last night, would be removed and arrested.

The students appeared to be calm and chanted the slogan: “No fear for civil disobedience”. They were escorted one after another, without resisting arrest, with the last of the protesters led away by police just before 2pm.

A police spokeswoman said police would take them to Police College in Wong Chuk Hang, which is being used as a temporary detention centre.

She said police were still checking the number of arrests and the offences involved.

The week-long class boycotts by university students ended in chaos on Friday night as about 200 protesters broke into Civic Square.

A fresh round of clashes also broke out between police officers and protesters at around 7.20am on Saturday, after officers armed with helmets and shields forced their way out of government headquarters to clear demonstrators staging a sit-in on Tim Mei Avenue.

Police used pepper spray on protesters and many appeared to be hit in the face. Some protesters were seen throwing plastic bottles back at officers.

Demonstrators prepare themselves for possible pepper spray attack

The class boycott has been seen as a curtain raiser to the Occupy Central campaign to blockade roads in Central, which is expected to be launched on National Day, October 1.

At around 10.30am on Saturday, Occupy Central co-founders Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Dr Chan Kin-man arrived on Tim Mei Road, outside Civic Square to join the sit-in. They vowed to protect the students and called on more people to join the sit-in at Tamar.

However, Tai refused the calls to launch the civil disobedience movement earlier than scheduled, even though student protesters called for immediate action following the night of clashes with police.

The Occupy campaigners had said, however, they supported the students’ movement to take back the Civic Square.

“Recapturing the Civic Square is like our fight for universal suffrage. It should have belonged to the people and we are now taking it back,” said Occupy co-founder Chan.

The forecourt, in front of the east-wing entrance of the Tamar complex, was closed in July to enable the construction of a three-metre fence which the government said was needed to improve security.

Protestors inside "Civic Square" surrounded by metal barricade and police officers

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