Students take part in a school boycott rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Monday. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

A senior Hong Kong official claimed "elements of terror" had been seen among pro-democracy protesters, as thousands of high school students joined workers in a city-wide strike amid tight security Monday, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Per the NYT, the comments by John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, mark the first time a territory official has used rhetoric akin to China’s propaganda machine — which has compared the protesters to terrorists on several occasions. Hong Kongers have enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997, and protesters are concerned there may be a crackdown by Chinese authorities.

The extent of violence, danger and destruction have reached very serious conditions. Radical people have escalated their violent and illegal acts, showing elements of terror."
— John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, on the weekend's protests

The big picture: Lee made the comments in reference to the weekend demonstrations that were punctuated by running battles between police and activists, according to the NYT, which notes riot police were assembling around schools and across Hong Kong’s subway system as thousands took part in the Hong Kong strikes.

  • Hong Kong high school students were joining the strikes on their first day back to school, AP reports.
  • Strikers gathered at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and 2 public spaces in the city’s central business district, per AP.
  • Many students wore gas masks, as they joined hands in human chains and chanted protest slogans before the start of school in the anti-government protest, according to the Times.
Hong Kong strikes: In photos
A protester holds a sign during a rally at Tamar Park. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images
Riot police stand guard inside the Kowloon Tong MTR station. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Medical staff express solidarity with pro-democracy protesters during their lunch break at the Queen Mary Hospital. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
Students take part in a school boycott rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Monday. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.