ong Kong Polytechnic University has become the latest battleground of the city’s pro-democracy protests as hundreds of students have found themselves trapped with police laying siege to the university campus.
College students in Hong Kong began fortifying their campuses last week as the demonstrations that have rocked the former British colony for the past six months took a new and dangerous turn. The tense standoff finally broke on Sunday evening at PolyU with fierce clashes kicking off between police and protesters.
In one of the most dramatic scenes out of Hong Kong this year, protesters managed to stop a police armored vehicle from breaking through their roadblock on Cheong Wan Road with a hail of petrol bombs.
WATCH: Protesters repel a police armoured vehicle just a metre away from their makeshift barricade on Cheong Wan Road. #HongKongProtest
— RTHK English News (@rthk_enews) November 17, 2019
That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. At PolyU now. This is after an armored vehicle made a charge for the protesters on the bridge only to get engulfed in flames after petrol bombs were thrown. It reversed, while on fire, as police fired teargas. #HongKongProtest pic.twitter.com/Zhig9ZuqC3
— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) November 17, 2019
The scene remained chaotic throughout the night with students eventually setting the university’s main entrance on fire early on Monday morning to stop officers from entering.
— Jessie Pang (@JessiePang0125) November 17, 2019
A few hours later, hundreds of student protesters tried to escape their besieged campus and breakthrough police barricade lines, only to be driven back by tear gas. Police had earlier warned that all those who remained on campus would be considered to be “rioters.”
— James Pomfret (@jamespomfret) November 18, 2019
#LIVE: Some protesters at @HongKongPolyU hop out from the fence and try to escape. But police fire tear gas at them apparently to prevent them from leaving. Some citizens outside the police cordon cry and beg the police to let them leave: “They are just kids!” #HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/rRY8uWmBJJ
— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) November 18, 2019
Meanwhile, parents of students trapped inside the campus showed up to plead with police to allow their children to leave. When police failed to agree with their wishes, they held a sit-down protest on the street.
Sobbing parents plead for their children to be allowed to leave PolyU, as headteachers say "desperate, scared and injured" secondary students are among the hundreds trapped on campus by the police. #HongKongProtest
— RTHK English News (@rthk_enews) November 18, 2019
— 🇭🇰HomeKong (@homekong8521) November 18, 2019
Fellow protesters also arrived in the thousands throughout the day, trying to break the police siege. One video shows a massive human chain on Nathan Road with people passing up supplies to those on the front-line of the conflict.
Video: This #HongKongProtest clip circulated online shows an *extraordinary* ‘human chain’ along Nathan Road in Kowloon, passing on emergency supplies that they hope would somehow reach the hundreds of students trapped inside #PolyU, or at least protesters nearby #HongKong #香港 pic.twitter.com/4OTj3YexC6
— Carmen Ng 吳嘉文 (@Carmen_NgKaMan) November 18, 2019
At this time, police have made dozens of arrests around Nathan Road against those protesters trying to break their encirclement of PolyU. Hundreds of protesters remain trapped on campus. Police have told them to lay down their weapons and surrender, noting that they will be charged with rioting and warning that they may again try to storm the campus.
Police have bowed to calls for medical workers to be allowed on campus with around two dozen injured protesters being escorted off campus by paramedics after having their identity recorded by police.