Hong Kong Protests: Campus Siege Enters a Second Day

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A standoff at a Hong Kong university between protesters and the police entered a second day on Monday with riot officers lobbing tear gas and firing rubber bullets at some students trying to flee the besieged campus, while others stayed bunkered inside with homemade weapons.

At least 38 people were injured in a protracted battle at the university, Hong Kong Polytechnic, on Sunday, the city’s Hospital Authority said, after a bloody battle in which a police officer was struck by an arrow and demonstrators set a police van on fire.

By Monday morning, after the police attempted to storm the campus but were forced back, a core group of students remained inside the walls awaiting an expected operation to remove them from the campus.

The battle was the most violent confrontation yet in a half-year of protests and the police force’s most direct intervention yet onto one of the city’s university campuses.

The Hong Kong protests began in June over legislation, since scrapped, that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, and have expanded to include a broad range of demands for police accountability and greater democracy.

Here’s the latest:

Scores of people were arrested by the police on Monday morning near the university. A large group of arrested people were seen seated outside a hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon, their hands zip-tied behind their backs.

It was unclear if the bulk of the arrestees were protesters trying to flee the campus or allies who had arrived at the university after responding to calls for help evacuating protesters trapped on campus.

At least 500 protesters remained on campus, after the police thwarted their attempts to escape by firing rubber bullets and volleys of tear gas, in an apparent break of a temporary truce that the university president, Jin-Guang Teng, said he had negotiated with the police.

The police said in a statement on Facebook that “a large group of masked rioters who have been holed up” at the university “suddenly charged at police cordons,” including many who held firebombs.

The police said they urged those inside the campus to “drop their weapons” and leave. Protesters were wary of following the police’s order to evacuate, as some were arrested after trying to leave, according to witnesses.

The police fired tear gas in the nearby neighborhood of Jordan, where roadblocks made with brick clusters and bamboo poles disrupted traffic.

Protesters have called for another strike on Monday in support of the campus occupiers, with demonstrations expected in the city’s Central business district.

Trains at several sections of the city’s rail network have been suspended or delayed.

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