first clashes in universities, police retreat


AFP, published on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 19:32

Intense clashes took place on Tuesday for the first time at a university in Hong Kong between protesters calling for democratic reforms and the police, who finally retreated in the night, while the Hong Kong business district was paralyzed.

These clashes occurred one day after one of the worst days of violence in 24 weeks of mobilization, when a police officer shot and injured a protester and a man was turned into a human torch.

"The rule of law in Hong Kong has been pushed to the brink of total collapse," police spokesman Kong Wing-cheung told reporters on Tuesday.

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the epicenter of Tuesday's unprecedented clashes on several campuses, law enforcement officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to try to dislodge the hundreds of protesters who were there. erected barricades. The latter then threw cobblestones and Molotov cocktails in their direction.

After dark, the area turned into a battlefield with flames rising in the sky, despite an attempt to mediate the administration of the institution, according to images broadcast live.

The police also used a water cannon before beginning their withdrawal, leaving the university in the hands of protesters entrenched behind improvised protective walls.

A 19-year-old volunteer named Marco explained that he was no longer counting the students who had been hit by rubber bullets to which he had helped.

Shocks, of lesser magnitude, have also occurred in three other universities.

– The paralyzed business district –

Meanwhile, around noon, in Central, home to many large foreign companies and luxury shops, thousands of employees have spent hours on the streets, chanting: "Fight for freedom, support Hong Kong! ".

Hundreds of radical protesters, wearing black t-shirts and masked faces, blocked traffic on one of the main avenues with a bus.

They then threw cobblestones and various objects before the riot police intervened.

At the time of the exit of the offices, the crowd again invaded peacefully the arteries of this district, the police force replicating like earlier in the day by shots of tear gas.

These scenes illustrate how people with moderate political views continue to support the democracy movement, while the more radical ones resort to violent methods.

The circulation of buses and subway trains was also seriously disrupted on Tuesday morning by the protesters, for the second day in a row.

Chinese state newspapers reported that the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which has a garrison in Hong Kong, was on hand to support, if necessary, the Hong Kong police, whom they hailed as "restraint." .

The day of violence prompted the Western powers, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, to urge Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam to find a compromise with the protesters.

Chinese diplomacy has rejected the "ulterior motives" of London and Washington.Hong Kong, handed over to China by the British in 1997, is a semi-autonomous region enjoying freedoms unknown in the rest of China until 2047.

But Hong Kongers militant for democratic reforms accuse Beijing of sitting on its promises by increasing its political hold.

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