The death of a Hong Kong student will probably add fuel to the riots

HONG KONG: a student in a Hong Kong The university that dropped a floor in a parking lot during the pro-democratic protests over the weekend died on Friday, the first death of students in months of demonstrations in the city ruled by China and a possible trigger for new riots.

Chow Tsz-lok, 22, a university student at the University of Science and Technology (UST), died of the injuries he suffered in the early hours of Monday, when he fell from the third to the second floor of a parking lot during a police dispersal. operation.

Chow's death, on graduation day for many students, is expected to fuel the anger against the police, which is already under pressure amid accusations of excessive force as the city faces its worst political crisis in decades.

UST students destroyed a campus branch, part of a franchise that is considered pro-Beijing, and demonstrations are expected throughout the territory at night, when violence traditionally increases.

Condemn the police brutality, they wrote on the glass wall of the restaurant.

Protesters had packed the hospital this week to pray for Chow, leaving flowers and hundreds of recovery messages on the walls. The students also organized demonstrations at universities in the former British colony.

He was a good person. It was sporty. He liked to play netball and basketball, his 25-year-old friend and fellow UST Ben told Reuters. We play netball together for a year. I hope you can rest in peace. I really miss him.

Students and young people have been at the forefront of the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets since June to press for greater democracy, among other demands, and to demonstrate against the perceived Chinese interference in the Asian financial center.

The protests, ignited by a now discarded extradition bill that allows people to be sent to mainland China for trial, have become broader calls for democracy, which represents one of the biggest challenges for the Chinese president. Xi Jinping since he took over in 2012.

Two pro-Beijing newspapers ran full-page ads, commissioned by a group of Hong Kong people, calling for a postponement of the lowest-tier district council elections set for Nov. 24, a move which would infuriate those calling for democracy.

Protesters threw petrol bombs and destroyed banks, shops and subway stations, while police fired rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and, in some cases, real ammunition in chaos scenes.

In June, Marco Leung, 35, died of construction scaffolding after displaying banners against the extradition bill. Several young people who have committed suicide in recent months have been linked to protests.

Graduation day

Chow had been pursuing a two-year degree in computer science. His death came on the day of graduation of many students at his university, located in the picturesque district of Clear Water Bay on the Kowloon side of the harbor.

Hundreds of students, some in their black graduation gowns and many wearing now-banned face masks, chanted Stand with Hong Kong and spray-painted Chow's name and pinned photos and signs of him on nearby walls.

The university requested an independent investigation.

We saw images of (an) ambulance blocked by police cars and that ambulance officers needed to walk to the site, which caused a 20-minute delay in our student's rescue operation, the UST president said in a statement.

We demand clarification from all parties, especially the police, about the cause of the delay in the most critical moments that could have saved a young life.

The government expressed great pain and sorrow. A police spokeswoman, with tears in her eyes, said officers would discover the truth as soon as possible.

We will do our best to investigate the cause, he told reporters, urging the public to be calm and rational.

Police have denied blocking an ambulance.

The parking lot said it would release CCTV images as soon as possible. It didn't say what the footage might contain.

Protests scheduled for the weekend include demonstrations in shopping centers, some of which have previously fallen into chaos when riot police broke into areas full of families and children. Protesters have called a general strike on Monday morning and that people block public transport. Such calls have been left in nothing in the past.

Last weekend, anti-government protesters crammed a mall in clashes with police who saw a man cut people with a knife and bite part of the ear of a local politician.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a one country, two systems formula, allowing it colonial freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest.

China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.