The standoff between protestors and riot police at a university in Hong Kong entered its third day on Tuesday, with around 200 of the demonstrators still trapped inside, The Guardian reported. Hong Kong’s chief executive said about 600 protestors surrendered to the authorities overnight.
The surrenders took place after the police allowed two representatives to mediate between the two sides. The South China Morning Post said 100 protestors reported injuries. It added that 50 of the protestors were treated by local paramedics before sent to five city hospitals. The remaining were treated inside the Polytechnic University campus in the Lee Shau Kei Building.
Lam said that around 200 of those who surrendered were underage, and were therefore not arrested. The other 400 have been arrested.
Tens of thousands of people have hit the streets in the last few days to join the protestors at the university in Kowloon area of Hong Kong. This has prompted action by riot police, including use of tear gas and rubber bullets. A few rounds of live ammunition have also been fired. On Saturday, mainland Chinese soldiers marched out of their barracks to clear the streets of Hong Kong of debris and roadblocks. The soldiers, belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army, were unarmed.
China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, said on Monday that the Hong Kong government was trying very hard to bring the situation under control. He added that if the situation became uncontrollable, the central government “would certainly not sit on our hands and watch”. “We have enough resolution and power to end the unrest,” he added.
Many trains connecting mainland China with Hong Kong have been cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Chris Tang, Hong Kong’s new police chief, warned on Monday that “fake news” was undermining the reputation of his force. He called for the people of Hong Kong to help end the protests.
Meanwhile, Carrie Lam issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that “we will use whatever means to continue to persuade and arrange for these remaining protesters to leave the campus as soon as possible. So this whole operation can end in a peaceful manner and lay the basis for the subsequent work by the police to stop violence in Hong Kong”.
The Hong Kong protests had initially been organised to oppose an extradition bill that proposed to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. However, they soon evolved into a pro-democracy backlash against the city’s government and its political masters in Beijing.
On October 23, the Hong Kong administration, led by Carrie Lam, formally withdrew the extradition bill. However, the administration accepted just one of the pro-democracy protestors’ demands. The protestors have demanded that Lam step down from her post, an inquiry into the alleged police brutality during the protests, retraction of the word “riots” to describe the demonstrations, amnesty for all those arrested for protesting, and universal suffrage.
The demonstrations have paralysed the city and affected the retail and tourism sectors, along with widespread disruptions across the financial centre and no end in sight to the violence and vandalism.