November 18, 2019 / 5:26 PM / a month ago

Highlights: Hong Kong police seal off university, raising fears of crackdown

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Monday to force back anti-government protesters trying to escape a university where hundreds are holed up with petrol bombs and other homemade weapons amid fears of a bloody crackdown.

Police fire tear gas towards protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Protesters inside Polytechnic University faced off against a police water cannon and armoured vehicles. Police threatened to fire live bullets if “rioters” did not stop using lethal weapons.

Protesters have blocked one of the city’s major arteries, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel linking Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula, for much of the past week.

Following is the latest news from the protests:

- 0156 p.m. on Monday (0556 GMT): Education Bureau says all schools will close on Tuesday while kindergartens and special schools will be closed for the rest of the week.

- 0515 GMT on Monday: Polytechnic University says it has requested a meeting with police to discuss a way to resolve the standoff peacefully.

- 0513 GMT on Monday: Hundreds of people take to the streets of the central business district in the latest in a series of lunchtime protests that have taken place since the beginning of last week.

- 0506 GMT on Monday: Several Asian airlines have cut flights to Hong Kong over the coming weeks, according to industry scheduling publication Routes Online.

- 0502 GMT on Monday: Hong Kong’s High Court rules that a British colonial-era emergency law revived by the government to ban protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.

- 0446 GMT on Monday: Polytechnic University’s president Jin-Guang Teng says in a pre-recorded video that he had he had brokered a truce with police to allow protesters to leave the campus peacefully, but it was unclear whether a truce was taking effect.

- 0422 GMT on Monday: The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong condemns the efforts by police officers to obstruct press coverage of protests over the weekend.

- 0318 GMT on Monday: Police fire several rounds of tear gas in Tsim Sha Tsui in mid-morning trying to clear protesters who had returned to the streets and set up barricades - broadcaster RTHK reported.

- 0222 GMT on Monday: The United States condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong’s freedoms.

- 0158 GMT on Monday: Police arrested at least 60 people on Science Museum Road nearby the Polytechnic University - broadcaster RTHK reported.

- 0152 GMT on Monday: Hong Kong Polytechnic University student union acting president Ken Woo says at least 500 people are still inside the campus and he believed some 70-100 intended to leave but were pushed back as police fired volleys of tear gas - Broadcaster RTHK cited Woo as saying in a programme.

- 2256 GMT on Sunday: MTR says East Rail Line between Hung Hom and Lo Wu/Lok Ma Chau stations at the border will be in service but it may suspend or adjust services.

- 2255 GMT on Sunday: Transport Department says Cross-Harbour Tunnel and major roads in Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok are closed, while about 170 sets of traffic lights are under repair.

- 2241 GMT on Sunday: Police clarify that no “raiding” operation was conducted inside Polytechnic University. Police appeal to everyone inside the campus to leave immediately.

- 2154 GMT Sunday: Police say three shots were fired in early hours in Jordan Road as “rioters” attacked two police officers when they escorted an arrested 20-year-old woman to an ambulance. Police say the shots did not hit anyone but the woman escaped.

- 2141 GMT Sunday: Protesters inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus set the main entrance on fire as police attempt to move in.

- 1842 GMT Sunday: Police warn drivers not to use their vehicles to block roads in Tsim Sha Tsui and Jordan districts and obstruct police operations.

Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Nick Macfie

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