Hong Kong faces more protests after clashes at university

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Hong Kong is seeing a spike in violence

Hong Kong is facing another day of anti-government action after a night of pitched battles at a top university.

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters started fires and threw petrol bombs.

Considerable student anger over police moving their operation onto campuses was matched by police warning that the rule of law was close to “collapse”.

Protests continued on Wednesday with clashes in different parts of the city.

The police decision to enter campuses signals a shift in strategy, correspondents say, as they have largely avoided clearance operations at schools and universities.

The Education Bureau has announced all schools would suspend lessons on Thursday for safety reasons.

What is happening now?

Protesters called for a third day of strikes and disruption to several metro stations led to a morning of long delays and queues.

There were confrontations on Wednesday morning, after a group of protesters set up barricades and road blocks in Yuen Long.

Student activists also continue to protest at several of the territory’s universities, while local media said that mainland students were brought across the border to China for their safety.

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Students are seeking to have police banned from entering campuses

A session at the city’s parliament, known as the Legislative Council, was briefly suspended after opposition politicians angrily questioned the security chief over alleged police brutality.

Fresh lunchtime protests in the financial district saw crowds gather to chant slogans.

Some black-clad protesters also vandalised a branch of the mainland Bank of Communications.

Why the spike in anger?

This week has seen a marked escalation in violence with intense street battles, violent clashes at universities and flashmob lunchtime protests in the financial heart of Hong Kong.

It is the first time in weeks that protests are taking place during weekdays.

The protests on Monday came after a weekend of vigils and demonstrations after a 22-year-old student protester died on Friday.

Alex Chow had been in hospital since he fell from the ledge of a car park during a police operation a week ago.

Later on Monday, violence escalated further when a police officer shot an activist in the torso with a live bullet and a pro-government supporter was set on fire by protesters on Monday.

What happened at the university last night?

On Tuesday police moved onto the university grounds at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) with tear gas and water cannons while protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at them.

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Media captionPetrol bombs were thrown and tear gas fired outside Hong Kong’s Chinese University

Through the night there were chaotic scenes of explosions, smoke, and rubber bullet gunfire during which scores were injured.

“This is not only to defend the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It represents the human spirit of defending political freedom and the rights which should be enjoyed by Hong Kongers,” a year-five student told the BBC.

Paramedics were treating at least 70 people after the clashes, local media reported, with at least four being seriously injured.

Student representatives said on Wednesday they were seeking a court order to stop police from being allowed to enter university campuses.

Why are there protests in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is part of China but as a former British colony it has some autonomy and people have more rights.

The protests started in June against plans to allow extradition to the mainland – which many feared would erode the city’s freedoms.

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The bill was withdrawn in September but demonstrations continued and now call for full democracy and an inquiry into police behaviour.

Clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent and in October the city banned all face masks.

source: bbc.com