Protestors react as police fire tear gas near Hong Kong Polytechnic University after police gave protestors an ultimatum to leave the campus in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Police launched a late-night operation Sunday to try to flush about 200 protesters out of a university campus on a day of clashes in which an officer was hit in the leg with an arrow and massive barrages of tear gas and water cannons were fired. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong police storm university held by protesters

Riot officers broke in before dawn as fires raged inside and outside the school

Police stormed into 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 barricaded themselves inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University for days, fighting back with gasoline bombs and bows and arrows. 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 before dawn as fires raged inside and outside the school.

Earlier in the day, 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 harbour that has been blocked by the protesters for days.

The use of bows and arrows and catapult-launched gasoline bombs threatened to escalate the violence in the more than five-month anti-government movement. Protesters are trying to keep the pressure on Hong Kong leaders, who have rejected most of their demands.

The protests were sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland. Activists saw it as an erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” formula implemented in 1997, when Britain returned the territory to China.

The bill has been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with calls for full democracy for the territory.

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

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 in the 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.

READ MORE: Hong Kong protesters vandalize subway station, storm mall

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 military is allowed 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 cancelled since Thursday, after the bureau came under criticism for not doing so earlier.

___

Associated Press video journalist Dake Kang contributed to this story.

Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach council voices support for Ballenas track upgrade

Town still not ready to provide dollar amount without further information

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in a ditch in Coombs

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

RDN budget includes unexpected $1.5 million for sewer pipe replacement

Pipe corrosion at Departure Bay discovered in December

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

Seniors often forgotten in mental health conversation

‘Empathy for Suicide’ event in Qualicum Beach on Feb. 24

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Most Read