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Hong Kong police occupy central campus campus in the midst of violent protests



Hundreds of protesters with bricks and makeshift barricades are conducting riot police on roads surrounding the campus of the city's Hung Hom district, just across Victoria Harbor from Hong Kong Island. Authorities have responded with tear gas and water cannons in skirmish that were heated on Sunday afternoon.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University was just one of a number of university campuses used during the past week as a rallying point for Hong Kong's protest movement.

However, unlike other campuses such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the polytechnic university is located in the center of the city, close to a number of major roads, including a marina.

During the past week, protesters have blocked these roads and severely disrupted the city's public transport system.

The protests in Hong Kong have now raged for almost six months after they began in June over a controversial China extradition proposal, triggering huge marches across the city.

When the government repealed but did not withdraw the bill, the focus of the movement was quickly expanded to focus on complaints of police brutality and wider calls for democracy.

The protests took a turn in early November after the protest-related death of a 22-year-old student, the first since the demonstrations began. Protesters began to fortify college campuses across the city, holding police with weapons from bows and arrows and gas bombs.

On Saturday night, police attempted to clear the roads around Polytechnic University but were forced to settle down after protesters started fires on the street and threw gas bombs.

"They showed a total breach of security for everyone at the scene," police said in a statement on Sunday, confirming that they were trying to disperse the group with tear gas.

A 23-year-old protester and polytechnic college students told CNN that they did not have a plan and were just waiting to see how the police would respond. "If we don't come out, no one will come out and protect our freedoms. Polytechnic University is my home," he said.

On Sunday, the government announced that all schools would be closed again on Monday as protests were expected to continue across the city.

The protests escalate

With both the government and protesters refusing to back down, there is no immediate end to the view of the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Showing his displeasure with the situation, Chinese President Xi Jinping made rare public comments about the demonstrations on Thursday.

He said that "radical" protesters had trampled the city's rule of law and that "stopping the violence and restoring order" was Hong Kong's most "urgent task."

It came just hours before a 70-year-old man, struck by a brick during clashes between protesters and their opponents, died of his injuries. Police accused protesters of throwing the object that killed him.

For the first time since the demonstrations began in June, China's People's Liberation Army hit the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday, but only to clear barricades and debris. [1
9659006] Even that invasion was enough to stimulate pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong to push for a statement from the city government.

The efforts of Chinese soldiers to clear roadblocks outside their barracks in Kowloon Tong were "solely a voluntary community activity initiated by themselves," the Hong Kong SAR government said in a statement to CNN.


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