Police Storm Hong Kong University, Threaten to Use Lethal Force
Hong Kong protests have been going on for 5 months now. The university is merely the latest escalation.
The Wall Street Journal reports Hong Kong Police Try to Storm University in Bid to Retake Campus From Protesters.
Large fires burned at a university here early Monday as police threatened lethal force and advanced on a group of increasingly militant pro-democracy activists armed with makeshift weapons who have occupied the campus for days.
Protesters inside the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University hurled Molotov cocktails as police tried to storm the grounds early Monday. The entryway and areas around the university’s perimeter were quickly engulfed in flames. One protester shown on live video was seen firing an arrow at the officers.
In some of the fiercest clashes since protests began in the Chinese-ruled city five months ago, police used on Sunday water-cannon blasts, tear gas and beanbag rounds against students who started a massive fire on a bridge, shot a police officer in the leg with an arrow and set fire to an armored car.
As the fighting continued, police said they would fire their guns if attacked by people police Superintendent Louis Lau described as “coldblooded rioters.”
“We don’t want to fight a war, but we have no choice,” said an activist manning the barricades at the university over the weekend, a 16-year-old high-school student wearing a black balaclava and protective goggles who gave his name as Quentin. “We want freedom, human rights.”
Police have responded with escalating force, shooting three protesters since the protests began.
The Guardian Live blog notes Hong Kong protest: police fire rounds of tear gas at protesters trying to leave campus
Mass arrests in Tsim Sha Tsui as Poly U remains under siege
Over the past two hours, attention has turned to the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui – outside Poly U – where over a hundred people have been arrested and detained in public.
As those inside the campus continue their standoff with police, dozens of people outside, who have variously been trying to reach the university, provide support or ask police to lift the siege, have been arrested.
A senior US official has also condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong in recent days, and said they are monitoring the situation.
Earlier, the university president, Professor Teng Jin-guang, said he had negotiated a temporary suspension of the use of force with the police and urged protesters to “leave the campus in a peaceful manner”.
But as protesters tried to leave the university, at 8.30am, they were stopped by “round after round” of tear gas, lasting a few minutes, forcing them back inside.
Protesters are now currently still inside the university campus, fearing that they will be trapped and arrested en masse by police.
The police say the students are free to go, but the students say they are trapped inside.
Here are the conditions under which students are free to leave
Police say they fired tear gas because the protesters had thrown petrol bombs and “charged” at the police.
Those are both sides of the story. Pick one or neither.
On June 16, I commented Two Million Protesters Flood Streets of Hong Kong: What's It All About?
Protests began a week ago when the Hong Kong government passed a bill authorizing extraditions to mainland China.
The extradition legislation would allow residents and visitors to be sent for trial in China’s Communist-controlled courts, effectively squashing freedom of speech.
Hong Kong's chief, Carrie Lam, rescinded the bill and even issued a rare apology following a week of massive protests, but that is not enough.
The protesters demand the resignation of Lam who insisted on pushing through the legislation despite the initial public outcry.
On August 12, I commented Protesters Swarm Hong Kong Airport All Flights Canceled
Hong Kong Recession
One has to wonder how much longer it will be before China takes matters into its hands.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock