HONG KONG — Protesters armed on Thursday with firebombs and bows and arrows reinforced the fortifications they had built on Hong Kong university campuses in anticipation of clashes with the police, as demonstrations disrupted Hong Kong’s morning commute for a fourth straight weekday.
At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the site of battle scenes earlier in the week that evoked citadels under siege, young protesters built brick walls outside the campus’s entrances. On the fringes of other school campuses, students built elaborate roadblocks that some in the movement call “Stonehenges.”
The protests started in June over an extradition bill that has since been withdrawn, and have morphed into broader demands for democracy and police accountability. In recent days, the locus of tension between protesters and the police has moved from the streets to university campuses, which were once sanctuaries for the students at the core of the movement.
Here’s the latest on the Hong Kong protests.
Fears of a police crackdown on campuses.
The police kicked off the workday on Thursday by spraying tear gas at an entrance of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Around the same time, the university sent an email to the staff urging them to leave the campus “in view of the escalating danger and a high risk of bodily injury.”
Tensions were also running high on other campuses. At least two other universities — CUHK and Hong Kong Baptist University — have already canceled on-campus lectures for the remainder of the fall semester.
At CUHK on Thursday, protesters were seen building brick walls around the campus entrances. “All day all night,” read a slogan someone spray-painted on one of the walls, “We are gonna fight.”
Across town at the University of Hong Kong, protesters used bricks and bamboo poles to erect elaborate roadblocks.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday night, the university’s president urged members of the campus not to “create any situation which will lead to police entering the campus to search, to investigate or to make arrests.”
“I urge you NOT to resort to violence as it will not solve any problems,” wrote the president, Xiang Zhang.
Transit disruptions across town.
The Hospital Authority said that 64 people received medical treatment related to clashes across Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Some were gravely injured, although it was unclear how many of the injuries were specifically linked to violence by protesters or the police.
A man working for Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department was believed to have been hit on the head on Wednesday by “hard objects hurled by masked rioters,” the government said in a statement hours later.
The police said in a separate statement on Thursday that the man, 70, appeared to have been attacked with a brick, and that he was in critical condition.
Keith Bradsher, Ezra Cheung, Tiffany May and Edward Wong contributed reporting.
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