Hong Kong, China – Clashes broke out in Hong Kong between police forces and protesters at the Polytechnic University (PolyU) in the north of the semi-autonomous Chinese city. On Sunday, police fired tear gas to disperse PolyU students lighting fires on the campus and blocking the nearby entrance to the crucial Cross Harbour Tunnel.
The entrance connects the northern Kowloon district to the other parts of Hong Kong. The protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the security forces, Asia News reported. The PolyU has become a flashpoint in the city, rocked by a week of intensified violence and chaos. A message posted on the university’s Facebook page urged demonstrators to leave the campus immediately.
“In view of safety concerns posed by possible violent unlawful activities conducted by protesters who are still occupying the PolyU campus, the University again urges all people on campus, including students and staff members, not to stay, and to leave as soon as possible,” according to the post.
When the students finally evacuated the university campus on Saturday, Chinese troops were deployed to dismantle the barricades set up by the rioters — the first time the troops took to Hong Kong’s streets during the recent riots. Dozens of local residents had gathered in the area earlier to also help clear barricades near the university campus.
Around 80 to 100 middle-aged residents clapped and cheered as they moved debris from the road near the entrance to the tunnel, which has been shut since Tuesday. Local media reported that the protesters had been throwing bricks at the residents. Students and protesters began occupying several major universities around the city last week.
The protests in Hong Kong, which were triggered in June by a now-shelved bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminals to mainland China courts for trial, have transformed into violent riots. Beijing rightfully blames the UK and the US for provoking the protesters by voicing support for them. Hong Kong, which was a former colony under the UK occupation, was returned to China in 1997.