On Monday, Hong Kong police have laid siege on a campus where protesters sought refuge in, increasing fears of a possible police crackdown. The protesters use petrol bombs and other arms, while police use tear gas.
Dozens, choking on the tear gas, tried to leave the Polytechnic University by breaking through police lines after a night of mayhem in the Chinese-ruled city in which roads were blocked, a bridge set on fire and a police officer was shot by a bow and arrow.
Many protesters, dressed in regular clothes and without gas masks, made runs for it, dodging tear gas canisters and sponge grenades, only to be forced back inside.
Some were arrested, tackled to the ground, as others scrambled and tripped over barricades and fences as police pointed guns at them and threw punches.
“The police might not storm the campus but it seems like they are trying to catch people as they attempt to run,” Democratic lawmaker Hui Chi-fung told Reuters.
“It’s not optimistic now. They might all be arrested on campus. Lawmakers and school management are trying to liaise with the police but failed.”
Police said officers had been deployed “on the periphery” of the campus for a week, appealing to “rioters” to leave.
“All our warnings were ignored,” they said in a statement. “Our message was loud and clear, the violence has escalated to rioting.”
They said “toxic and dangerous chemicals” had been stolen from the university laboratory.
“We must warn that the university campus has become a powder keg where danger is far beyond what we can estimate,” police said.