Student groups in Hong Kong have sent an appeal to protesters to besiege the government headquarters on Friday morning and support any civil disobedience activity initiated by the public if the government fails to accede their demands by 5pm on Thursday.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students said at a press conference on Wednesday they have made four demands.
They have called for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her administration to retract its amendment to the extradition bill.
They also want the June 12 clashes in Admiralty to be reclassified – not classed as a riot; for charges of ‘rioting’ laid against arrested protesters to be dropped; and a thorough investigation into whether the police used excessive force in cracking down on protesters.
So Tsun-fung, president of the Chinese University student union, said the apology offered by the chief executive on Tuesday was insincere. He said that government officials were trying to blame each other and evade their responsibilities, as no other key officials like the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah showed up in public to offer an apology or explanation.
The student group’s call echoes a post circulated on various online discussion groups since Tuesday, in which citizens proposed similar demands and a deadline for the government to respond. The netizens said they would stage different types of protest, such as delaying MTR services, or surrounding the government headquarters if the government fails to respond.
The student federation said they believed Hong Kong people would know what to do in a peaceful way to show their determination, and they would offer support to them. They also believed that protesters with a “peaceful, rational and non-violent” approach and those who were more radical could co-exist in the coming protest.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students includes representatives of the student unions from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Education University of Hong Kong, the City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, the federation is liaising with student unions in other tertiary institutions in the city, including the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University.
It was understood that the pan-democracy camp has not come up with a consensus on the call initiated by the students.
Lawmaker Au Nok-hin believed more activity would take place, as the chief executive did not respond to the demand raised by the protesters.
Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong said he needed to further discuss the proposed next steps with party members, but he wished to investigate police officers’ abuse of power.
Meanwhile, after watching Lam’s press conference, protesters said the chief executive had failed to meet their demand.
Some university students who sat outside the Legislative Council building said they were very disappointed as Lam didn’t respond to demands raised in their rally last Sunday. They said they would support and join in an escalation of action.
Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a government and public administration senior lecturer at the Chinese University, said Hong Kong people had learned a lesson from 2014, when the radical camp and the peaceful camp argued over actions and tactics used during the Umbrella Movement, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Recent social events proved that various parties could co-exist and co-operate, including netizens, pro-democracy supporters and Christians.
Over the past two weeks, some citizens in online discussion groups provided useful and creative tactical ideas and information that was easily disseminated on online platforms, and it helped the general public to understand the current situation and mobilize their participation.
The two massive demonstrations over the past two weekends proved that citizens and rally organizers could help each other.
Choy urged the government to think deeply on how to communicate with the young generation given the Thursday deadline they have set.