As protests continue in Hong Kong, a group of students at the University of Waterloo is hoping to get the Canadian government to speak out about the issue.

In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets for a series of pro-democracy rallies, demanding freer elections in the former British colony – which has been under Chinese control since 1997.

Waterloo students like Longtin Got, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, say the protests have been a long time coming.

“That’s what the Chinese government has promised us before, but they broke their promises,” he told CTV News.

Got and other students have organized a table at UW’s student life centre, where they hand out yellow ribbons – a symbol first adopted by the protestors in Hong Kong – and explain their views on exactly what is taking place halfway around the world.

According to Got, students have been receptive to their presence.

“They’re willing to stand with us and give us five to 10 minutes to let us brief them about what’s happening in Hong Kong,” he said.

“People actually care about what’s happening a thousand miles away from Canada. It’s really amazing.”

In Hong Kong, police have cracked down on the demonstrators in recent days, using dozens of canisters of tear gas.

Chinese government-run media has warned of “unimaginable consequences” if the protests continue.

The students have started a petition, which had picked up several hundred signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

They plan to send the petition to Ottawa, in the hopes the Canadian government will take a more active role in denouncing violence against the protestors.

The University of Waterloo has plenty of ties to Hong Kong, including an office in the area.

With files from The Associated Press