Published: Wed, November 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong: Police detain dozens of protesters

Hong Kong: Police detain dozens of protesters

"Several thousand have been trapped on campus after the police surrounded the school and blocked all exits at around 7:30 p.m. [1130GMT] on Sunday", Oiwan Li, a student representative told a news conference on Monday, the Hong Kong Free Press reported. Ms Ng said the government should bear the responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong.

As he spoke, big explosions were heard and flames flared up at a distant part of the campus.

Officers repelled one escape attempt Monday morning with tear gas, driving hundreds of protesters back onto the campus.

"Other than coming out to surrender, I don't see, at the moment, there's any viable option for them", he said.

The situation intensified after the incident, and the police warned that they would use lethal weapons against violent protesters, calling on people to leave the campus before they took further action.

Some were arrested, tackled to the ground, as others scrambled and tripped over barricades and fences as police pointed guns at them and threw punches. As clashes intensified, protesters shot arrows and hurled gasoline bombs at the authorities - and police used tear gas and water cannons.

A few hundred protesters streamed out of the campus early Monday in an apparent bid to escape, but they were driven back by police tear gas. Some were pushed back, however, after police fired tear gas and expanded their cordon.

"The protesters have been reacting to the police", said Joris, 23, a civil engineer who like others did not give his full name. The protesters want to avoid arrest.

Tsang, who with legal scholar Eric Cheung was the first prominent mediator allowed by police to enter the campus, said there were young children and elderly people trapped inside the campus and that it was a priority to get the children out first.

Hong Kong police used tear gas and water cannon yesterday against protesters who tried to break through cordons and reach a university at the centre of a week-long standoff between demonstrators and law enforcement.

The university has turned into a battleground as anti-government protests show no signs of slowing down.

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Anxious parents whose children were trapped inside the Polytechnic University were among the 200 protesters who joined a peaceful rally on Monday night in eastern Tsim Sha Tsui, a tourist area which is only 300 metres away from the besieged campus.

"If they don't do that, the only way it's going to end is I fear is with an even more severe and bloody crackdown", he added.

"These rioters, they are also criminals".

Escalating protests last week after the death of the HKUST student saw a traffic police officer shoot a protester during a clash in the early hours of November 11, and a man set on fire after he argued with protesters. The colonial-era emergency law was invoked in October, but protesters largely defied it.

Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong's promised freedoms when the then British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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

The global community should urge the Hong Kong government to show restraint and stop the police from any more violence on the city's college grounds, according to the statement.

China's foreign ministry said on Monday no one should underestimate its will to protect its sovereignty.

The unrest in Hong Kong poses the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

"The situation is getting more and more risky", Jasper Tsang, a pro-Beijing politician who is the former head of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, told Reuters soon after he arrived at the campus.

On Monday, Hong Kong's High Court struck down a controversial mask ban which the government introduced in the apparent hope that making face coverings illegal would help reign in the protests.

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