Hong Kong protests: Police surround campus after a night of violence
Police are enclosing a Hong Kong university campus after a fiery overnight standoff with hundreds of protesters inside.
Dozens of protesters attempted to leave after sunrise but turned back as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.
Earlier, police attempted to enter Polytechnic University but were met with petrol bombs and bricks.
Demonstrators have been occupying the website for days, as Hong Kong’s violent protests continue to escalate.
On Monday morning, the head of the university, Professor Jin-Guang Teng, released a video statement to protesters, saying he had arranged a deal with the police.
Source of news: bbc.com
The protesters would be able to leave peacefully, Prof Teng said, if they ceased”initiating the use of force”.
If protesters left the campus peacefully, he said he would”personally accompany” them into the police station where he would”make sure that the case is fairly processed”.
However, the message appeared to have little impact – and the protesters remain within the campus.
What is happening at Polytechnic University?
The campus has been occupied by protesters for several days, and a statement from the university on Sunday night said it had been “severely and extensively vandalized”.
Overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at police and even fired arrows from bows.
The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse, who was at the scene, said there was a game of”cat and mouse” with authorities.
“The police fire tear gas and the water cannon advances, squirting poisonous blue liquid,” he said.
“The protesters, crouching behind umbrellas, react with petrol bombs and stones fired from improvised catapults. The police vehicles retreat. The net result is zero.”
When police attempted to enter the campus at around 0530 local times, they were met with gas bombs, which started more flames around the website.
After sunrise, dozens of protesters attempted to leave the website – but turned back after being met with tear gas and rubber bullets.
One student told the Reuters news agency: “At first I felt really scared and panicked staying here because the authorities said all of us within the university could be arrested for charging riots and we’ll be sentenced for 10 years or above.
“But I feel really peaceful because I feel that everyone inside our college will stay together.”
On Sunday night, authorities warned they could use live ammunition.
“I hereby warn rioters to not use gasoline bombs, arrows, cars or any deadly weapons to attack police officers,” police spokesman Louis Lau said.
“If they continue such dangerous actions, we would have no option but to use the minimum force necessary, such as live rounds, to fire back.”
On Sunday, a member of police staff was struck in the leg with an arrow apparently fired by a protester from a bow.
Why are there protests in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong – a British colony until 1997 – is part of China under a version known as”one country, two systems”.
Under this version, Hong Kong has a high level of autonomy and individuals have freedoms unseen in mainland China.
The protests started in June after the authorities planned to pass a bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
Many feared this would endanger the city’s citizenship and judicial independence.
The bill was eventually withdrawn but the protests continued, having evolved into a broader revolt against the authorities, and the way Hong Kong is administered by Beijing.