Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) students donned graduation gowns and held up pro-democracy slogans as they marched through their campus Thursday, a day that was originally slated for their graduation ceremony.
Last week, the university announced they would be moving the ceremony online due to COVID-19. But many students saw the cancelation as a politically motivated, believing that the school did not want to see them use the event to chant protest slogans and voice support for the pro-democracy movement as they did at last year’s graduation.
According to Apple Daily, about 200 students wearing Guy Fawkes masks and carrying black balloons marched towards No. 2 bridge, the site of some of the most severe clashes last year as protesters besieged the university and fought running battles with police.
March at CUHK sees #LiberateHongKong flags flying high above. Securities are alerted on site, issuing social distancing warning. The march later end in peace after students arrives at The University Mall. pic.twitter.com/2X1n2IoyPf
— DailyRecord (Hong Kong) (@daily_recordhk) November 19, 2020
Some held up signs reading “#Save12HKyouths,” calling for the release of 12 protesters who were intercepted and detained by Guangdong authorities when trying to sail to Taiwan for refuge. The protesters have been held in Shenzhen for almost three months and have been routinely denied access to lawyers appointed by their family.
University security guards broadcasted through the loudspeaker that the group was violating social distancing rules and demanded them to disperse. They also took out video cameras to film the protest.
Students chanted pro-democracy slogans including “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” Authorities have suggested that the phrase connotes Hong Kong independence and could violate the national security law.
November marks a year since the CUHK siege, during which police fired thousands of tear gas rounds and violently subdued protesters. The university was turned into a war zone as clashes broke out, prompting authorities to end the semester early and some international and exchange students to move off-campus.
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