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Hong Kong Student Protesters Trapped in University

Police in riot gear move through a cloud of smoke as they detain a protester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Police in riot gear move through a cloud of smoke as they detain a protester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Hong Kong Student Protesters Trapped in University
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Police used tear gas and water cannon on Monday against protesters occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The situation remains tense.

Police surround the campus. They say they will use force against the protesters if they do not leave. Students barricaded themselves in to stop police from entering several areas. They have used gasoline bombs against police vehicles and set fires.

The president of the university said he has negotiated a truce with police. Teng Jin-Guang said the agreement would permit hundreds of protesters trapped at the university to leave peacefully.

Teng said he received promises from police for a temporary suspension of the use of force if the protesters do not act against police.

“We have received permission from the police for you to leave the campus peacefully, and I will personally accompany you to the police station to ensure that your case will be fairly processed,” Teng said.

However, it remains unclear if or when the truce will take effect.

Students seeking to leave

On Monday, many students attempted to escape the campus, running through clouds of tear gas to try to break through police lines.

Overnight, fires burned inside the school and at protest barriers.

Students are also occupying several other schools in the territory. They have kept a supply of gasoline bombs, slingshots and other weaponry.

The protesters have been involved in intense clashes over the last day with police. At times, the police tried to break through the protester barriers but were driven back.

VOA reports that more than 20 students were detained and taken away in police vehicles.

A man who called himself Ronald said, “I can’t imagine this happening in Hong Kong. We are a civilized city and we are witnessing so many uncivilized acts.”

Thousands of police and other security have surrounded Hong Kong Polytechnic University warning students to drop their weapons.

A student protester told VOA that there still may be several hundred students still inside the campus.

The local police commander called the protesters rioters and criminals. “They have to face the consequences for their acts,” he said. There is no other choice for them but to surrender, he added.

China warns U.S., Britain on Hong Kong

Also Monday, China’s ambassador to Britain called on the United States and Britain not to interfere in Hong Kong.

Liu Xiaoming spoke to reporters in London. He said, “Some Western countries have publicly supported the extreme violent offenders.”

As evidence, Liu pointed to a measure approved by the U.S. House of Representatives called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

Liu also criticized the British government and the foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons, for what he called irresponsible comments about the nature of police and protester actions.

Britain is Hong Kong’s former colonial ruler. It was returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement. The understanding was that the territory would largely keep its legal system. But many in Hong Kong do not trust officials in Beijing to keep that promise.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in June. At that time, Hong Kong’s legislature began considering a law that would permit Hong Kong criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. The proposed law has since been withdrawn. But the protesters continue to make “five demands” of city officials. The demands include an investigation of what the activists say is police abuse of protesters.

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

Bill Gallo reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English with additional material from AP and Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

campus –n. the area and buildings around a university, college or school

barricade oneself in –v. to prevent others from entering a place by setting up barriers

accompany –v. to go somewhere with (someone or something)

slingshots –n. a simple device used to throw stones and small objects farther

consequences –n. (plural) things that happen as a result of a certain action or a set of conditions

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