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Hong Kong protests: Campus Siege launches a second day when the court's reverse masking ban



A distance at a University of Hong Kong between protesters and police went in on a second day on Monday with insurgents lobbing tear gas and firing rubber bullets at some students trying to escape from the besieged campus, while others stopped bunkering inside with homemade weapons .

At least 38 people were injured in a protracted fight at the university, Hong Kong Polytechnic, on Sunday, the city's hospital authority said, following a bloody fight in which a police officer struck an arrow and protesters set a police car burning.

A core group of students remained inside the walls, waiting for an expected operation to remove them from campus.

As protests raged across the city, Hong Kong's Supreme Court ruled out a controversial ban on wearing face masks in public. The Court found that the ban, passed in October, violated the territory's mini-constitution, known as the Constitution.

The city's Supreme Court on Monday struck down a ban on wearing face masks in public, giving a blow to the local government's ability to characterize the ongoing protests as a situation that calls for emergency powers.

The ban, passed in October, quickly ignited tensions in the city and started a series of violent conflicts. The city's executive director, Carrie Lam, introduced the ban without seeking regulatory approval by invoking powers granted under the rarely used emergency ordinance, or E.R.O.

In its ruling, the court said that the ban violated the city's mini-constitution, known as the Constitution, because it was too vague and compromised the ability of the Legislative Council, or LegCo, to make the laws of the territory. [19659002] “The ERO is so broad in scope, the allocation of powers so complete, its conditions for invocation so uncertain and subjective, the regulations made under these have been invested with such superiority, and the LegCo control is so uncertain that we consider that it is not compatible with the constitutional provision laid down in the Constitution, ”the court said in its judgment.

Masks have been worn by protesters since the early days of the movement, as a way for protesters to hide their identities and protect themselves against the pepper spray and tear gas routinely deployed by the police. Many protesters saw the law as a pretext that would allow officers to arrest nonviolent protesters in order to deter people from participating in street actions.

Lots of people were arrested by police on Monday morning near the university. A large group of arrested people were seen sitting outside a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui district in Kowloon, with hands clasped behind their backs.

It was unclear if the bulk of those arrested were protesters trying to escape campus or allies who had arrived at the university after responding to calls for help to evacuate protesters captured on campus.

At least 500 protesters remained on campus after police prevented their attempts to escape by firing rubber bullets and tear gas shells, in an apparent break in a temporary weapon that the university president, Jin-Guang Teng, said he had negotiated with the police.

Police said in a statement on Facebook that "a large group of masked insurgents who have been enveloped" at the university "suddenly charged with the police cordon," including many who kept fire bombs.

Police said they urged those inside the campus to "drop their weapons" and leave. Protesters were careful to follow police orders to evacuate, as some were arrested after trying to leave, according to witnesses.

Police shot tear gas in the nearby neighborhood of Jordan, where roadblocks made with brick clusters and bamboo poles disrupted traffic.

Protesters have called for a new strike on Monday in support of campus staff, with demonstrations expected in the city's central business district.

Trains at several parts of the city's rail network have been canceled or delayed.


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