Riot police move in
Hong Kong authorities clash with protesters at university
POLICE yesterday breached a Hong Kong university campus held by protesters after an all-night siege that included firing repeated barrages of tear gas and water cannons.
Anti-government protesters had barricaded themselves inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University for days.
Police surrounded the area on Sunday night and began moving in after issuing an ultimatum for people to leave the area. The crowd wore raincoats and carried umbrellas to shield themselves.
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 could be seen as protesters responded with petrol bombs.
Police, who have warned that everyone in the area could be charged with rioting, reportedly made a handful of arrests.
At daybreak yesterday, protesters remained in control of most of the campus.
The president of the university said in a video message that police had 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 they would all likely be arrested. A few hundred streamed out of the campus about 8.15am in an apparent bid to escape, but they were driven back by police tear gas.
Some wearing gas masks calmly picked up smoking tear gas canisters and dropped them into heavyduty bags, but the protesters decided to retreat with a phalanx of officers lined up across the road in the distance.
On Sunday, protesters used bows and arrows, and one arrow struck a media liaison officer in the calf. Photos on the department’s Facebook page show the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s leg.
As riot police moved in from all sides, some protesters retreated inside the university. Others set fires on bridges leading to it.
A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train station to the campus over the approach to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, a major road under Hong Kong’s harbour that has been blocked by protesters for days.