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World After pitched battle, Hong Kong police move on university campus, begin mass arrests

21:15  17 november  2019
21:15  17 november  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Police have begun raiding the edges of the biggest campuses to make arrests , leading student activists to engage with them in pitched battles that resemble medieval sieges. Protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong clashed with riot police officers.Credit

It began earlier in the week, following a pitched struggle on Monday between police and protestors Protesters move bricks as they barricade a road near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong , Nov. Protests began in Hong Kong in June following the introduction of a new law, which

HONG KONG —After an intense, day-long battle, police surrounded anti-government protesters inside a university late Sunday and began to make mass arrests, escalating the struggle over Hong Kong’s campuses in the city’s now-six-month struggle for democracy.

Skirmishes between police and protesters raged into the night outside Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, leaving the air thick with tear gas and a police vehicle burning.

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Protesters who had taken over major university campuses in Hong Kong have mostly left. Pro-democracy protesters mostly dispersed from several Hong Kong university campuses and blocked a The pro-democracy protests originally began to overturn a now defunct China extradition bill, but

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow and protesters set an overhead footbridge on fire Sunday as they fought to Police and protesters faced off all day outside Polytechnic after a pitched battle the previous night in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and

As police continued to bombard protesters with water cannon, they warned stronger measures could follow. 

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“We will use the minimal force,” police said in a Facebook video. “We are asking the rioters to stop assaulting the police using cars, gas bombs and bows and arrows. Otherwise we will use force including live rounds.”

The all-day standoff began early with police pummeling front-line protesters with water cannons that streamed irritating blue liquid and volleys of tear gas. Protesters responded with barrages of molotov cocktails. At one point, a police media liaison officer was struck in the calf with an arrow.

Much of the battle centered on the bridge leading to campus from the nearby metro station, which protesters had filled with barricades. As night fell, they repeatedly set it alight to prevent the police from advancing on to the university.

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Police fired tear gas at pro-democracy protesters early Sunday in a bid to clear the group from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon. The activists have barricaded the campus ' entrances and blocked access to the nearby Cross-Harbor Tunnel, a major artery connecting Hong Kong Island

Most recently, Hong Kong 's university campuses have been the scenes of pitched battles between police and demonstrators. On Sunday, riot police fired tear gas and used water cannon against protesters at the PolyU, who launched bricks and petrol bombs at them. Protesters took cover behind

Police announced at 9 p.m. that the “next round of operation” was beginning, leading to speculation that they would storm the campus. They threatened to arrest those involved on charges of rioting, which can incur penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

a group of people in a dark room: Protesters throw molotov cocktails at a police armored truck, which tried to ram the barricade at a bridge above the entrance to the Cross Harbour Tunnel during clashes outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China Nov. 17, 2019. © Thomas Peter/Reuters Protesters throw molotov cocktails at a police armored truck, which tried to ram the barricade at a bridge above the entrance to the Cross Harbour Tunnel during clashes outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China Nov. 17, 2019.

University authorities had implored students not to engage in violence. In a statement, they said they were “gravely concerned that the spiraling radical illicit activities will cause not only a tremendous safety threat on campus, but also class suspension over an indefinite period of time.”

The university in Kowloon is next to a key cross-harbor tunnel that protesters blocked in recent days by setting fire to toll booths. Universities have become the latest flash points in the protests that have rocked this semiautonomous territory to its core.

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HONG KONG — Across Hong Kong ’s university campuses , students and their supporters are bracing for police confrontations in increasingly elaborate ways: constructing Molotov cocktail assembly lines, erecting catapults that use helmets to launch projectiles

HONG KONG — Storefronts closed for weekend demonstrations are now shuttered, for weeks or even While multinational companies have drawn up exit strategies, few have plans to move . When the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the grounds of Hong Kong universities this week

a group of people walking down a street: Anti-government protesters throw molotov cocktails toward police vehicles during clashes, outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China, Nov. 17, 2019. © Tyrone Siu/Reuters Anti-government protesters throw molotov cocktails toward police vehicles during clashes, outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China, Nov. 17, 2019.

In the face of an increasingly harsh police crackdown, protesters have taken up an eclectic spectrum of weapons, including bows and arrows and javelins — probably appropriated from campus athletic departments.

In Sunday’s battles, though, protesters’ key weapon appeared to be gas bombs. At one point, a police van speeding toward their barricades was set alight by a flurry of molotov cocktails and forced to retreat.

Polytechnic University was one of the last campus strongholds following an intense week of protests centered on the city’s universities. After police laid siege to the Chinese University of Hong Kong last week, protesters barricaded other campuses as well as major roads, drawing the city and schools to a halt.

a group of people walking in the rain: Protesters are sprayed by water cannon during clashes with police outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China Nov. 17, 2019. © Thomas Peter/Reuters Protesters are sprayed by water cannon during clashes with police outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China Nov. 17, 2019.

On Saturday, members of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, left their barracks to help clear the roadblocks that protesters had erected around universities. It was the PLA’s first appearance on the streets of Hong Kong since the pro-democracy protests erupted in June.

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Protesters arm themselves at Hong Kong campus Jump to media player Clashes have raged around Hong Kong Polytechnic University Clashes turn HK university into 'battleground' Jump to media player Student protesters fought a pitched battle with police at the Chinese University of Hong Kong .

A Hong Kong police officer was shot with an arrow on Sunday during the siege of a fortified central university campus , a new escalation after nearly six months of demonstrations in the fiercely divided city.

As a semiautonomous territory, Hong Kong is legally distinct from mainland China. While the army’s presence here was not unprecedented — it also appeared in September 2018 to assist with disaster relief after a severe hit from Typhoon Mangkhut — the move was a subtle but significant development. Under Hong Kong law, the PLA may not interfere in local affairs unless invited by the Hong Kong government.

a group of people wearing military uniforms: In this photo released by the Hong Kong Police Department, police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of a fellow officer during a confrontation with protesters, Nov. 17, 2019. © AP/AP In this photo released by the Hong Kong Police Department, police prepare to remove an arrow from the leg of a fellow officer during a confrontation with protesters, Nov. 17, 2019.

On Saturday, the Hong Kong government denied that it had invited the PLA to clear the roadblocks, saying the work was a “voluntary community activity,” according to Chinese state-owned CGTN. The development drew sharp criticism from pro-democracy lawmakers, who said it was illegal and a PR stunt by Beijing to normalize the army’s presence in the territory.

At a peaceful rally in Hong Kong’s central business district, Alex said the development was unacceptable.

“They cannot be volunteers because they are soldiers,” said the 35-year-old clerk who gave just his first name for fear of retribution. “They’re conveying a message that they will be going out. They will take action if the situation is not getting better.”

The Education Bureau announced that all classes would be canceled on Monday. Classes were suspended for most of last week as protests and a strike paralyzed the city. Two university campuses have called off classes for the rest of the semester.

foreign@washpost.com

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