Amid a weeklong strike, thousands of college students in Hong Kong boycotted classes Monday to protest the Beijing government’s decision to limit electoral reforms.

The strike comes after months of pro-democracy rallies and protests. A survey by the Chinese University found that more than a fifth of Hong Kong residents are considering leaving due to concerns about the city’s political future, The Guardian reports.

Hong Kong was given a promise of “universal suffrage” when it was returned to China from Britain in 1997. Now activists are demanding a fully democratic election for the selection of the city’s next chief executive, in 2017. Beijing says it will allow residents to choose among only candidates selected by a nominating committee.

The Guardian reports of the protests:

Students from more than 20 universities and colleges streamed into the grounds of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where they were greeted by banners saying: “The boycott must happen. Disobey and grasp your destiny.”

Many of the students were dressed in white and wearing yellow ribbons. Some sat in a circle playing guitars in temperatures close to 86F (30C), while others prepared leaflets urging students to boycott classes.

“On 31 August, when the National People’s Congress made their decision, it crushed the dreams of some Hong Kong people who have been fighting hard for democracy for the past 30 years,” said third-year student Hong Yuen.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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