HONG KONG • Hong Kong school and university students boycotted classes and held pro-democracy rallies for the second straight day yesterday, further fuelling the political crisis in the China-ruled city.
The boycott comes as leading Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Ivan Lam and Michael Mo, an organiser of an unauthorised public gathering in July, were arrested by police yesterday morning.
Student protesters were calling for their five demands to be met: The withdrawal of the now-suspended extradition Bill, the retraction of the word "riot" to describe the rallies, the release of all arrested demonstrators, an independent inquiry into the police and the right for Hong Kongers to democratically choose their own leaders.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said she was open to dialogue with protesters but has made no concessions on these demands.
"I think Carrie Lam doesn't have much power," said a 21-year-old engineering student at Hong Kong University who wanted to be known only as Poon. "(Whether) she can step down or not, it doesn't matter."
On Monday, thousands of students joined demonstrations at universities, many wearing gas masks and joining hands to form human chains, and chanting for Hong Kong to be given greater autonomy from the central Chi-nese government.
Meanwhile, broadcaster RTHK reported that Lam, chairman of pro-democracy party Demosisto, was arrested after flying into Hong Kong yesterday morning after being away for nearly a week.
He was charged in absentia last week with inciting others to join an unauthorised demonstration on June 21 outside the Wan Chai police station.
Mo was also arrested yesterday morning at his home on suspicion of helping to organise an unauthorised gathering on July 27 in Yuen Long.