Protesters blockade universities, stockpile makeshift weapons as chaos grips Hong Kong

Protesters blockade universities, stockpile makeshift weapons as chaos grips Hong Kong

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HONG KONG – Anti-government protesters dug in at several university campuses across Hong Kong on Wednesday, setting the stage for further confrontations as police said violence in the Chinese-ruled city had reached a “very dangerous and even deadly level”.
Protesters – many of them young students – spent much of Wednesday fortifying barricades and stockpiling food and makeshift weapons, as other roving bands of masked protesters disrupted transport and businesses in many areas.
As night fell without more of the large on-campus clashes seen the previous day, protesters manning the barricades and checkpoints around the universities arranged to sleep in shifts to watch for any approaching police.
Demonstrators have been protesting since June about what they see as meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Allegations of police brutality have fuelled protesters’ anger.
China denies interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.
In the heart of the city’s Central business district on Wednesday night, police used an armoured vehicle with an officer firing less-than-lethal rounds from the roof to ram a barricade and disperse protesters who had been blocking traffic.
Nearby, protesters also blocked the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to the Kowloon area, according to the city’s Transport Department.
Earlier in the day, about 1,000 protesters blocked roads in the Central district at lunchtime. Wearing now-banned face masks and dressed in office wear, they marched and hurled bricks on to roads lined with some of the world’s most expensive real estate and luxury flagship stores.
Scores of riot police tried to disperse the crowds near the stock exchange, wrestling some people to the ground and beating others with batons.
At the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where multiple people were injured in clashes between riot police and protesters on Tuesday, police accused protesters of running a “weapons factory” making hundreds of petrol bombs that were thrown at officers.

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