Hong Kong protesters fight with fire as police storm university

Riot police trapped hundreds of anti-government protesters Monday night on a university campus, according to The Associated Press.

The protesters, who had barricaded themselves inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University, attempted to escape police Monday after government officials told them to peacefully leave the campus and cooperate with the police, according to the AP.

Before dawn, police broke in one entrance and were met with gasoline bombs by demonstrators. Police reportedly made a few arrests after earlier warning everyone in the area could be charged with rioting.

Protesters had occupied the campus for days before police moved in Sunday night. Monday morning, a few hundred protesters attempted to escape but were driven back onto the campus by tear gas, according to the news service.

As of daybreak, the protesters were still in control of most of the campus, with some maintaining patrols with bows and arrows, according to the AP.

“We are exhausted because we were up since 5 a.m. yesterday,” a protester who gave only his first name, Matthew, told the AP. “We are desperate because our supplies are running low.”

“Other than coming out to surrender, I don’t see, at the moment, there’s any viable option for them,” said Cheuk Hau-yip, the commander of Kowloon West district, where the campus is located, according to the AP.

The president of the university, Jin-Guang Teng, also called on the protesters to leave the campus and said he would assert them to the police station and ensure they were tried fairly.

“I hope that you will accept the proposed temporary suspension of force and leave the campus in a peaceful manner,” he said in a video message, according to the AP.

The protests began earlier this summer over a bill introduced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam that would allow the extradition of certain criminal suspects to China.

Lam has since withdrawn the bill, but demonstrations have continued, with protesters calling for her resignation and an independent review of police brutality against demonstrators, as well as expressing concern over what they view as the city’s weakened autonomy from Beijing. Last month, Hong Kong’s high court struck down a mask ban imposed by city officials.

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