Hong Kong protests: 600 surrender to police but dozens remain under siege

19 November 2019, 14:26

Roughly 100 anti-government protesters remain surrounded at Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a violent stand off with police enters its third day.

Dozens of demonstrators are still holed up in the university, despite claims made by Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam that 600 people left the campus.

There have been violent clashes with police over the last three days, with officers arresting anybody who leaves the building.

About 200 of those who exited the university were under the age of 18, with many groups of protesters attempting to escape making efforts to evade arrest.

One method reportedly used by those inside was to slide down hoses to waiting motorcycles that would whisk them away, however it is unclear if they were successful in avoiding being taken into custody.

About 100 protesters remain holed up in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
About 100 protesters remain holed up in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Picture: PA

The 400 people over the age of 18 were arrested, Ms Lam said, but those below that age would not be.

However, she stressed that they could still face charges later.

"We will use whatever means to continue to persuade and arrange for these remaining protesters to leave the campus as soon as possible so that this whole operation could end in a peaceful manner," she added.

The leader has held weekly meetings with advisers, but has struggled to keep a lid on the five-month-long clashes.

Violent clashes have taken place across several university campuses
Violent clashes have taken place across several university campuses. Picture: PA

Violence has intensified as local authorities and those in China's capital - Beijing - harden their positions and refuse to make concessions.

Tense and aggressive confrontations have taken place on university grounds over the last week, with demonstrators occupying several campuses.

Protesters have used petrol bombs and bows and arrows to fend off riot police who have responded with water cannons and armoured cars.

The Polytechnic is the last battleground where people remain under siege.

The Polytechnic is the last of the university battlegrounds
The Polytechnic is the last of the university battlegrounds. Picture: PA

Chinese troops were sent outside their barracks over the weekend to help clean up debris thrown across the streets by protesters in an attempt to block authorities.

Beijing took control of the former British colony in 1997 and promised to let it retain a considerable amount of autonomy.

The Chinese ambassador to Britain accused the UK and the US of meddling in the country's internal affairs and warned that the his government "will not sit on our hands" if the situation in Hong Kong "becomes uncontrollable."

Beijing also suggested it could overrule the decision in Hong Kong's high court on Monday to prevent the ban on protesters wearing face masks to avoid arrest, saying it did not conform with the territory's constitution and it infringes on fundamental rights more than is reasonably necessary.