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23rd January 2020
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Hong Kong Police Battle Protesters At A University Campus

Hong Kong Police Battle Protesters At A University Campus
Hong Kong Police Battle Protesters At A University Campus(via-Associated Press)

Hong Kong Police on Monday armed with tear gas and batons fought off anti-government protesters as they tried to break through a police cordon that is trapping hundreds of them on a university campus, Associated Press reported.

The anti-government protesters barricaded themselves inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for days, fighting back with petrol bombs and bows and arrows.

According to the report, some of the protesters advanced on the Hong Kong police from outside the cordon, while others emerged from the campus, their trademark umbrellas at the fore. Police used tear gas and in some places swooped in to subdue protesters and make arrests.

Hong Kong’s work week started with multiple protests that disrupted traffic, schools closed because of safety concerns and a temporary lull in the pitched battles for control of the Polytechnic campus, as the emphasis shifted from battering the protesters with tear gas and water cannons to waiting for them to come out.

For days, protesters fortified the campus to keep police from getting in. Cornered by authorities, they were trying to get out.
Officers repelled one attempt Monday morning with tear gas, driving a few hundred protesters back onto the campus.

The give-and-take has played out repeatedly during the city’s months of anti-government unrest. The protesters want to avoid arrest. Bu the Hong Kong police want to pick up as many as they can.

Many protesters wear masks to shield their identities from surveillance cameras that could be used to arrest and prosecute them. The ban has been widely ignored, and police have charged protesters with wearing masks.

The protests started peacefully in early June, sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to the mainland. But by the time the bill was withdrawn, the protests had hardened and broadened into a resistance movement against the territory’s government and Beijing.

Activists see the extradition bill as an example of Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy under Beijing rule since the 1997 handover from colonial power Britain.

The head of a nationalistic Chinese newspaper said Hong Kong police should use snipers to fire live ammunition at violent protesters.

“If the rioters are killed, the police should not have to bear legal responsibility,” Global Times editor Hu Xijin wrote on his Weibo social media account.

Riot officers broke in one entrance before dawn as fires raged inside and outside the school, but they didn’t appear to get very far.

Fiery explosions were seen as protesters responded with gasoline bombs. Police, who have warned that everyone in the area could be charged with rioting, reportedly made a handful of arrests.

At daybreak, protesters remained in control of most of the campus. In one outdoor area, some demonstrators made gasoline bombs while others dozed while wearing gas masks. Two walked about with bows and quivers of arrows, while many stared at their smartphones.

“We are exhausted because we were up since 5 a.m. yesterday,” said a protester who gave only his first name, Matthew. “We are desperate because our supplies are running low.”

A lull settled on the area as the president of the university said in a video message that that police have agreed to suspend their use of force.

Jin-Guang Teng said police would allow protesters to leave and he would accompany them to the police station to ensure their cases would be processed fairly.

“I hope that you will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a peaceful manner,” he said.
It seemed unlikely the protesters would accept the offer given that they would all likely be arrested, Associated Press had added.

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