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Posted at: Nov 20, 2019, 7:17 AM; last updated: Nov 20, 2019, 7:17 AM (IST)

Police surround last holdouts at HK campus protest

Police surround last holdouts at HK campus protest
Protesters being escorted out of the main entrance to Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus in Hung Hom district. AFP

Hong Kong, November 19

A small band of anti-government protesters, their numbers diminished by surrenders and failed escape attempts, remained holed up at a Hong Kong university early Wednesday as they braced for the endgame in a police siege of the campus.

Police were waiting them out after 10 days of some of the most intense protests the city has seen in more than five months of often-violent unrest gripping the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Since the siege began Sunday, more than 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds of injured treated at hospitals, authorities said. The government has stood firm, rejecting most of the protesters' demands.

The demonstrators shut down major roads and trains during rush hour every day last week as they turned several university campuses into fortresses and blocked a major road tunnel, which remained closed Tuesday.China's Communist leaders have taken a tough line on the protests and said that restoring order is the highest priority.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred from going on a European speaking tour, after a court refused to change his bail conditions to let him travel outside Hong Kong.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged authorities to de-escalate the standoff. The protests started in June over a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Activists saw the legislation as part of a continuing erosion of their freedom. — AP


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