Protestors remain trapped on college campuses as police surround the perimeter
By Joseph cotton | Staff Writer
About 600 student protestors have surrendered to police after being trapped inside of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) after police surrounded the campus. According to The Guardian, 30-50 people remain inside the university.
On Monday, many of the students attempted to leave the campus in a mass exodus, many were immediately arrested and several were forced back inside the university.
The fleeing student protestors were reportedly targeted with “ten minutes of nonstop tear gas,” according to University of Hong Kong Director of Communications and Development Jennifer Wang.
The mass exodus was prompted by the president of the university asking the student protestors to leave in a Facebook video.
The president stated that he had negotiated a temporary suspension of the use of force and urged the students to exit the university at an exit point designated by police to turn themselves in. The police have also threatened to use live ammunition on the protestors if they continue to use what they call “lethal weapons.”
CNN reported that the police are armed with what appeared to be assault rifles and that the weapons were “ready to use.”
The student protestors are armed with Molotov cocktails and petrol bombs, as well as bows and arrows according to NPR. The protestors have been retaliating as the police have moved used tear gas, blue-dyed water laced with pepper spray and rubber bullets against them.
The protestors have also set fire to two bridges that lead to the campus in an attempt to keep the police out. also burned a police vehicle that was attempting to move on the campus. One police officer was reportedly shot in the calf according to ABC News. The protestors have been classified as rioters by the Chinese government.
Protestors in several working-class neighborhoods nearby the university clashed with the police, likely in an attempt to divert police energy away from the university.
Protest organizers reportedly airdropped messages saying, “Immediately call people in 18 districts to… distract police. Everybody save PolyU!”
Unarmed soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army have been seen in the area but were deployed to clean bricks and other debris off of the streets. Protestors have seen the presence of the Chinese military as a warning.
“Judging by the looks of it it seems like there’s going to be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square massacre,” sophomore John Higgins said. “In this scenario, there’s no choice because whatever they (the protestors) do they will likely be met with violence.” He also said that the governments of the free world need to do more about the Hong Kong situation and that it is one of the defining moments of our time.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would require the U.S. Secretary of State to certify that Hong Kong is autonomous enough from China to qualify for trade.
Hong Kong is considered a semi-autonomous part of China that is governed by the “one country, two systems” policy adopted in 1997, allowing it to keep many of the civil liberties denied to citizens of the mainland.
Many of the protestors fear that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to take away the province’s autonomy.
The protests began around five months ago, with peaceful rallies that demonstrated against an extradition bill which would allow Hong Kong prisoners to be tried in mainland China. The protestors have been concerned with the government’s encroachment on their rights designated under “one country, two systems.”