Protesters Risk Dramatic Escape at Embattled Hong Kong University

Clay Curtis
November 19, 2019

Some were arrested and tackled to the ground.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, according to the Associated Press.The city's Cross-Harbour Tunnel, next to the Polytechnic university, linking Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula, remained closed after protesters burned a bridge above the toll booths on Sunday.Earlier on Sunday, a police media officer was shot with an arrow that penetrated his leg.

Police and antigovernment protestors clashed violently at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus on Sunday into Monday morning, the latest development in what has been a week of unprecedented violent confrontations between police and protestors on Hong Kong university campuses.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper cited an unnamed police source as saying that some of those arrested were taken to hospitals by ambulances.

Some of the protesters who escaped on Monday lowered themselves several metres from a bridge they had occupied on the campus to a flyover below. The escape reportedly went undetected for more than 40 minutes, after which police began arresting those left behind.

Hundreds of protesters have erected barricades outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and encamped inside.

"People getting exhausted but they don't want to surrender", added the 41-year-old. "But this Polytechnic University is in the city". Saying their campus "has been occupied by activists and has been severely and extensively vandalized over the past few days", the leaders said in a statement Sunday that protesters have damaged "a number of laboratories on campus with the unsafe chemicals inside being taken away".

An anti-government protester (C) is showered down by volunteer medical workers after he was soaked in pepper-spray infused water by the police water cannon, inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on November 18, 2019.

Some protesters remained outside the university to deter police advancement.

The protests began as a response to Chief Executive Carrie Lam's proposal to enact a law allowing people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

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Commenting on the situation Monday, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said in a tweet, "The tragedy of Hong Kong shows the world what the Chinese communist government is really all about".

On Monday, Hong Kong's High Court ruled that a ban on protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.

Other protestors blocked a major road not far from the Polytechnic campus to distract police and help those inside the campus escape.

A protester inside the university told the BBC that supplies, including first aid equipment, were running low.

"We have a responsibility to monitor the situation and to speak out for the promises that were made to the people of Hong Kong".

The head of a nationalistic Chinese newspaper said Hong Kong police should use snipers to fire live ammunition at violent protestors. "I wasn't born in Hong Kong but I love Hong Kong so much!" Hong Kong is a wonderful place but it has turned into such a state. Xi has said he is confident Hong Kong's government can resolve the crisis.

The presence on the streets of soldiers from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), even to clean up, risks stoking the controversy about Hong Kong's status as an autonomous area. Many feared this would undermine the city's freedoms and judicial independence.

The government has already dumped the bill, but protests continue with demands to prosecute the police for violence.

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