Hong Kong police storm university held by protesters

HONG KONG (AP) — Police breached a Hong Kong university campus held by protesters early Monday after an
all-night siege that included firing repeated barrages of tear gas and water cannons.
Anti-government protesters have barricaded themselves inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University for days.
Police surrounded the area Sunday night and began moving in after issuing an ultimatum for people to
leave the area. The crowd wore raincoats and carried umbrellas to shield themselves.
Riot officers broke in one entrance before dawn as fires raged inside and outside the school, but they
didn’t appear to get very far. Fiery explosions could be seen as protesters responded with gasoline
bombs. Police, who have warned that everyone in the area could be charged with rioting, reportedly made
a handful of arrests.
At daybreak, protesters remained in control of most of the campus. In one outdoor area, some
demonstrators made gasoline bombs while others dozed while wearing gas masks. Two walked about with bows
and quivers of arrows, while many stared at their smartphones.
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.
Jin-Guang Teng said police would allow protesters to leave and he would accompany them to the police
station to ensure their cases would be processed fairly.
“I hope that you will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a
peaceful manner,” he said.
It seemed unlikely the protesters would accept the offer given that they would all likely be arrested.

A few hundred streamed out of the campus about 8:15 a.m. in an apparent bid to escape, but they were
driven back by police tear gas. Some wearing gas masks calmly picked up smoking tear gas canisters and
dropped them into heavy-duty bags, but the protesters decided to retreat with a phalanx of officers
lined up across the road in the distance.
On Sunday, protesters used bows and arrows, and one arrow struck a media liaison officer in the calf.
Photos on the department’s Facebook page show the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s leg
through his pants.
As riot police moved in from all sides, some protesters retreated inside the university. Others set fires
on bridges leading to it.
A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train station to the campus over the
approach to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, a major road under Hong Kong’s harbor that has been blocked by
protesters for days.
The use of bows and arrows and gasoline bombs was a sharp escalation of violence by the protesters, who
are trying to keep the pressure on Hong Kong leaders, who have rejected most of their demands.
The protests started peacefully in early June, sparked by proposed legislation that would have criminal
suspects to be extradited to the mainland. But by the time the bill was withdrawn, the protests had
hardened and broadened into a resistance movement against the territory’s government and Beijing.
Activists see the extradition bill as an example of Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy under Beijing rule since
the 1997 handover from colonial power Britain.
Several hundred people formed a human chain Sunday in central Hong Kong in a peaceful rally in support of
the movement.
Azaze Chung, a university student, said the government should respond to the protesters’ demands, not
just use force against them.
Police and protesters faced off all day outside Polytechnic after a pitched battle the previous night in
which the two sides exchanged tear gas and gasoline bombs that left fires blazing in the street.
A large group of people arrived Sunday morning to try to clean up the road but were warned away by
protesters. Riot police shot several volleys of tear gas at the protesters, who sheltered behind a wall
of umbrellas and threw gasoline bombs into nearby bushes and trees, setting them on fire.
The protesters held their ground for most of the day, as water cannon trucks drove over bricks and nails
strewn by protesters to spray them at close range — some with water dyed blue to help police identify
protesters afterward.
Protesters began retreating into the university near sunset, fearing they would be trapped as police
approached from other directions. The protesters barricaded the entrances to the campus and set up
narrow access control points.
They are the holdouts from larger groups that occupied several major campuses for much of last week.
Another group threw bricks in the street to block a main thoroughfare in the Mongkok district, as police
fired tear gas to try to disperse them. The disruption to Nathan Road traffic may have been an attempt
to distract police during the standoff at Polytechnic.
Opposition lawmakers criticized the Chinese military for joining a cleanup to remove debris from streets
near Hong Kong Baptist University on Saturday.
Dozens of Chinese troops, dressed in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts, ran out in loose formation and
picked up paving stones, rocks and other obstacles that had cluttered the street.
The Chinese military is allowed in Hong Kong to help maintain public order, but only at the request of
the Hong Kong government. The government said that it had not requested the military’s assistance,
describing it as a voluntary community activity.
The Education Bureau announced that classes from kindergarten to high school would be suspended again on
Monday because of safety concerns. Classes have been canceled since Thursday, after the bureau came
under criticism for not doing so earlier.
Associated Press journalist Dake Kang contributed to this report.