Students protest against the National Service Ordinance

Riot police are seen here trying to restore order in what was known as the May 13 Incident. On 13 May 1954 students from Chinese middle schools had staged a demonstration outside Government House to petition against the National Service Ordinance passed by the British government, which was highly unpopular among Chinese-educated students. Official sources reported that police sent in riot squads after students ignored the warning to disperse, their demonstration deemed unlawful under the 1948 Emergency Act. Students then fought the police in the streets as they were determined to make known their resentment and protests over the ordinance, which required all males between the ages of 18 and 20 to register for conscription, or face imprisonment or fine. The Chinese felt they were not obliged to serve the colonial government, who in their eyes had never treated the Chinese as equals. The confrontation ended with more than 20 injured and more than 40 arrests and even then, students remained indignant at the violent manner in which the police had handled the unarmed students.