While post-secondary students in Canada prepare for the start of another week of assignments, tests and lectures, hundreds of their counterparts refused to allow police in Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University on Monday, continuing a days-long protest against a government that they say is bending to the will of communist China.
Student leaders said on social media that pro-government police had carried out severals and reports describe the students pushing the police back from an outer barricade after setting the blockade on fire and throwing petrol bombs at the officers.
Police have surrounded the university campus, trapping the protestors inside after nearly two consecutive days of standoffs between activists and authorities.
A media liason officer was shot in the calf with an arrow from the protestors, heightening tensions to the point that police threatened to use live fire bullets if the “rioters” did not halt their use of lethal weapons. It marks only the latest incident amid unrest in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong, where massive protests have shook the city since July.
Demonstrators are angered by what they allege to be Communist China’s interference in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to Beijing’s rule in 1997. The city has held mostly autonomous political status since the formal turnover, but observers say Beijing is seeking to bring it within its one-party political system.
The protesters at Polytechnic University had blocked Hong Kong’s Cross Harbour Tunnel linking Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula for much of the past week, with authorities aiming to restore the link as defiant and trapped activists stand their ground, reported Reuters news agency.
The occupation by protestors and their activism has similarities to the occupation of the York University Senate chambers in the spring of 2018. Students took over the chamber for several days in support of several demands tied to a faculty strike taking place at the time, among other demands.
However, the stakes are much higher in Hong Kong where as many as 40 injuries have arisen due to the water cannons used by police and three others suffering injuries to their eyes, as reported by The New York Times.