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Mon, Dec 9, 2019 12:06 AM
Thu, Nov 21, 2019 4:04

Protesters stay holed up on HK campus, surrounded by riot police

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Fewer than 100 protesters remained holed up in a Hong Kong university on Thursday as riot police encircled the campus, with some activists desperately searching for ways to escape while others hid.

Fewer than 100 protesters remained holed up in a Hong Kong university on Thursday as riot police encircled the campus, with some activists desperately searching for ways to escape while others hid.

Some protesters told Reuters they were holding out not for a showdown with police, but because they were innocent and looking for an escape route.

“I won’t consider surrendering. Surrendering is for people who are guilty. None of us inside are guilty,” Michelle, a 20-year-old student, said on the campus of Polytechnic University on the Kowloon peninsula.

Rubbish has piled up around the campus, with trash and debris from homemade petrol bombs strewn across the grounds. Many protesters have abandoned their equipment, including gas masks and umbrellas.

Much of the campus is damaged, with rooms vandalized and windows shattered. Electricity and water are still functioning.

The Asian financial hub has had a brief respite from months of often violent demonstrations, with relative calm across the city for the past two days and nights ahead of District Council elections set for Sunday.

The government said late on Wednesday it was closely monitoring the situation to see whether the elections could be held safely.

The university, in the center of the bustling Kowloon peninsula, is the last campus still occupied by activists during a week that saw the most intense violence since the anti-government demonstrations escalated more than five months ago.

Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing has said it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy.

The unrest marks the most serious popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Some protesters have surrendered while others were held during escape attempts that included clambering down from a bridge to waiting motorbikes and fleeing through the sewers.