Back-to-school students block roads

Top News | Stella Wong 21 Nov 2019

Students in uniform and wearing masks occupied roads on the way to school as classes resumed yesterday after a weeklong break because of protests.

At least five students of a Yuen Long school were given verbal warnings and demerits by the school for stopping MTR train doors from closing while others were scolded by drivers for setting roadblocks in Kwun Tong.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said he would instruct schools to counsel and discipline students who had done so.

Primary and secondary schools resumed classes - with few exceptions - but traffic was seriously congested in some districts due to roadblocks and the closure of the Cross Harbour Tunnel.

While some parents criticized the Education Bureau for not suspending classes yesterday amid the traffic chaos, students had mixed opinions.

Some hoped classes would not be suspended again as they needed to catch up on lessons, with exams coming up.

But others took action to disrupt traffic in response to online calls.

They included dozens of students in uniform in Kwun Tong who walked to Hip Wo Street and blocked traffic at about 7am.

Wearing masks, they chanted slogans such as "Five demands, not one less" and used metal railings and other objects to set up roadblocks.

Bus passengers walked down the slope near Hip Wo Street when their vehicles were hampered by the blockades. Some drivers got out of their cars to scold the students, who in turn apologized.

But an affected worker said: "I don't care which school you are studying in. You are obstructing people who are going to work. Do not apologize. Just don't obstruct people on their way to work!"

Some people trying remove the roadblocks were stopped by the students, who moved the objects back to the road. They were seen pushing each other.

Students dispersed at about 8am after a group of riot police arrived and later cleared the roadblocks.

But traffic in Kwun Tong was disrupted again at lunchtime as about 200 people walked on the roads.

Also in the morning, some students in uniform stopped MTR train doors from closing, including at least five from Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Lo Kon Ting Memorial College in Yuen Long.

Tung Wah Group of Hospitals said the school sent teachers to the station to search for the five students and invited their parents to the school. The five were given verbal warnings and demerits.

Yeung said yesterday that after announcing the resumption of primary and secondary schools on Tuesday, online calls were made to disrupt traffic.

He said despite the government's calls to stop people from doing so, road blockades sprouted in various districts, adding that students were among the disrupters.

Yeung said: "I will demand relevant schools take disciplinary action and provide guidance to the students. I hope this can help students understand their wrongdoing."

Chinese University announced that all its offices will remain closed today and tomorrow, while the Vocational Training Council said its face-to-face classes have been canceled for the rest of the semester and learning will continue in other modes.

stellast.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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