At a busy university in Hong Kong, protesters and police are still in a stalemate after two days. A new police storm on the campus failed this morning, but also an outbreak by protesters. The police are now increasing the pressure, NOS reports.
“It seems that the police are doing everything they can to prevent a Tiananmen situation,” said correspondent Sjoerd den Daas, referring to the bloody protests of 1989. “There is a lot of tear gas being fired, but people are pushing for that the demonstrators voluntarily leave the campus. “
Early this morning the police tried to enter the campus, but demonstrators responded with incendiary bombs. When the occupiers tried to get away en masse from the campus a few hours later, it turned out to be hermetically sealed by armored vehicles and they were bombarded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
It seems that the police are slowly shrinking the cordon: barricades have been removed on campus and protesters trying to get away are subsequently arrested.
“Exact numbers are not known, but it seems to be a few dozen,” says Den Daas. “The atmosphere is tense far beyond the university.”
The campus is strategically important for the demonstrators, Den Daas explains. “Last week several universities were occupied, but peace has returned relatively. This is the last stronghold.”
“In addition, the campus is located near the main Hong Kong tunnel that connects the mainland with the business district. The police have tried to get that road free again, but because that fails, the business district has been down for days.”
According to Den Daas, the police are strikingly reluctant. After the demonstrators had used Molotov cocktails, stones, and bow and arrows, the police warned with sharp shooting if “rioters” wagered “deadly weapons,” but there are no reports that the deed was added.
“There is restraint among the agents. They prefer to keep up the pressure and continue to threaten with megaphones. They hope that demonstrators themselves come out so that they can be beaten. Maybe if there are fewer demonstrators left, they will will once again storm the campus. “
Such a siege is easier to sustain for the police than for the activists.
“The protesters on campus are starting to get hungry, there is little water left, the tiredness is starting to strike, so they can use outside support. But the police are shooting cars with which protesters are trying to deliver new supplies. I noticed that when I was in a taxi last night. “
In a victory for the protesters, the Supreme Court in Hong Kong put an end to a mask ban imposed by the government. According to the judges, the ban unnecessarily violates Hong Kongers’ personal rights.
The ban was introduced in October to make it easier to identify demonstrators. To prevent recognition, many demonstrators wore face covers, such as gas masks or anonymous masks.
It is another defeat for Carrie Lam, the highest governor of the island. “There was actually no question of enforcement, but it was an unpopular measure, a symbol of Lam’s failing leadership. It is painful that the judge now rejects it.”