Graduates wearing masks hold an anti-government rally after their graduation ceremony at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China, November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Hong Kong students graduate wearing masks

Following at least 22 weeks of sometime violent unrest in the Chinese-ruled city Hong Kong, more than 1,000 students attended their graduation ceremony at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Thursday, chanting “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now”.

Many students had put on masks during the ceremony in defiance to the government’s recent ban on face masks. The ban is aimed at curbing the unrest in the city due to clashes between protesters and riot police.

Dressed in formal graduation gowns, many students chanted as they walked from a metro station to the ceremony venue, calling for the government to respond to protesters’ demands that include Universal Suffrage.

Triggered by a controversial “Extradition bill” – now scrapped – in June, protesters have put forward five demands, including an independent investigation into police behavior and Universal Suffrage.

“The most important thing is we all remember five demands not one less, even though we are all exhausted, we should not give up,” said Kelvin, a 22-year-old information engineering graduate.

The protesters and pro-democracy supporters are of view that China is meddling with the city’s freedom guaranteed by the 1997’s agreement between China and the former British colony.

However, China denies doing so and has blamed western countries for stirring up trouble in the financial hub.

Five months of unrest in the city has hit its economy hard, sliding the city’s economy into recession.

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