Hong Kong campus holdouts desperately seek escape routes
About 100 protesters were trapped in the Polytechnic University
HONG KONG: Anti-government protesters holed up in a Hong Kong university were frantically searching for escape routes on Tuesday after more than two days of clashes with police, dramatic breakouts by rope and motorcycle and more than 1,000 arrests in 24 hours.
About 100 protesters were trapped in the Polytechnic University a day after students, some tired and fearful of police storming the campus, tried again and again to flee, only to be beaten back by police firing rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas.
Some 235 injured were taken to hospital on Tuesday, the Hospital Authority said.
"I just want to leave. I feel very tired," said Thomas, 20, a student at another university who has been on the campus since the siege began. "I didn't throw Molotovs. I was here to support the protest."
He then walked slowly, with about 10 others, towards police, who searched and arrested him. He had the phone numbers of lawyers written on his right forearm.
Late in the evening, another small group tried to run for it through the main gate. Most, if not all, ended up running back into the campus as police shouted at them and flashed their torches rather than firing.
Police have made about 1,100 arrests in the past 24 hours on charges including rioting and possession of offensive weapons, they said. The total since citywide protests began in June is more than 5,000.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she hoped the stand-off could be resolved and she had told police to handle it humanely.
Lam spoke shortly after the Chinese-ruled city's new police chief urged the support of all citizens to end more than five months of unrest triggered by fears that China's central government is stifling the former British colony's special autonomy and freedoms, including its independent judiciary.