HONG KONG — Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have called for a general strike Monday, seeking to disrupt the Asian financial center in the aftermath of the death of a student following a clash with police and the arrest of six pro-democracy lawmakers.
The organizers plan to start disrupting traffic at 7 a.m., but they have kept their specific plans under wraps and were conducting an online poll Sunday to determine pressure points. Similar actions in the past have shut down parts of the transit system and the tunnels going to Hong Kong Island that are vital lifelines to its central business district.
The planned disruptions are timed to coincide with “singles day,” which gets its name from the date, Nov. 11. Originally an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration in mainland China, it has turned into an annual shopping phenomenon that generates billions of dollars in sales. The protesters are urging a boycott of online shopping.
The call to action follows a weekend of protests. Saturday evening, tens of thousands of people held a vigil to remember Chow Tsz-lok, who died several days after falling from a parking garage near where police officers had clashed with protesters. Sporadic outbreaks of violence also erupted Saturday and Sunday.
The protests in the semiautonomous Chinese city began in early June, over a contentious extradition bill that has since been withdrawn. The demonstrations have since morphed into calls for greater democracy and police accountability.
Here’s the latest on the Hong Kong protests:
Opposition lawmakers caught up in widening dragnet.
— Six pro-democracy lawmakers were charged Saturday in relation to scuffles May 11, as the Hong Kong legislature met to discuss the extradition bill.
— Lawmakers from the democracy camp said the arrests were part of a government plan to interfere with local elections scheduled for Nov. 24.
— One opposition lawmaker was told by the police Friday that he would be arrested later.
Student’s death provokes outrage and questions.
— Tens of thousands of people gathered at a park outside the Hong Kong government headquarters Saturday in memory of Chow Tsz-lok, 22, who died after falling from a parking garage amid protests last Monday. A constant stream of people left paper cranes and white flowers at a stage where speakers gave emotional addresses.
— “I am here today not just to mourn the death of this boy, but also because I don’t want this to happen to my son in the future,” said Veronica Chan, 31. “I don’t want him to have to come out to fight for freedom in 10 or 15 years.”
— Chow, a student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, suffered head and pelvic injuries when he fell one story. Some protesters have blamed the police for his death, but the circumstances of his fall remain unclear.
— An international panel of experts appointed to study police conduct said Friday that the local police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council, needed to beef up its investigative capabilities. A key demand of the protest movement has been an independent investigation into the police’s use of force.
Beijing pushes scrapped anti-sedition law.
— The head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on Saturday said that the local government’s inability to pass an anti-sedition law was to blame for the growing calls for Hong Kong’s independence.
— The proposed legislation, based on Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s miniconstitution, would outlaw calls for independence and put the territory more in line with mainland laws for what China characterizes as treason.
— The bill was shelved in 2003 after a half-million Hong Kong residents protested, arguing that it threatened civil liberties enshrined in the Basic Law.