Hundreds at PolyU heed call to give up peacefully

Local | 19 Nov 2019 9:17 am

Six hundred protesters have chosen to surrender today and among them were 200 minors, the police said.

A group of mothers, meanwhile, pleaded at a sit in near the university in Hung Hom, thir their children be allowed to come out peacefull and that they be not branded 'rioters.' They are being helped by a pastor.

Some youths have told foreign news agencies that they are waiting for help.

In the early hours today about 30 protesters gave up and were given emergency medical attention at the Polytechnic University in Hung Hom, while the Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said about 100 remain on campus.

The PolyU campus continues to be encircled by riot police -- some of whom are armed with assault rifles -- as the violent stand-off entered its fourth day.

Groups of protesters have on many occasions attempted to breach the encirclement by Hong Kong riot police, who have demanded they surrender while leaving them with one exit route. The police have declared those who remain, "criminals.''  

This despite a late night visit by a legal scholar and the former head of the Legislative Council, both of whom tried to persuade some volunteers to leave.

Some protesters have abseiled from a footbridge to a highway and were helped to flee on motorbikes.

The conflict between the youths -- a hard core group among them -- has now spilled on to the fourth day.

Polytechnic University student union president Derek Lium told CNN earlier that about 300 protesters are holding out on the campus as of this morning.

The Red Cross said that it had evacuated at least six injured people from the campus overnight. The organization said some of the injured protesters had been suffering from suspected limb fractures, burn injuries and skin necrosis, CNN reports.

More than 100 people were allowed to leave the Polytechnic University in the early hours, having been trapped since Sunday night, RTHK reported. 
A delegation of secondary school heads - including education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen - had earlier secured a promise from riot police to allow minors still inside to go home safely. But their identities will be taken and they still face prosecution later.

However, those aged over 16 were immediately arrested and taken to police stations.

Former Legco president Tsang Yok-sing and law professor Eric Cheung also went into the campus at about 11:00pm. They later came out accompanying about a dozen demonstrators. Tsang said around 50 minors had left, and a similar number of adults.

“The situation is getting more and more dangerous,”  Tsang told Reuters soon after he arrived at the campus last night. 

Tsang said there could be bloodshed if riot police raid the campus and meet strong resistance, adding: “This is something that we want to avoid.”

People have been hiding in buildings throughout the campus, Seze Li, a 26-year-old protester from inside the university told London's The Guardian newspaper. “It’s a disaster. Everyone is running around, looking for exits. We heard the protesters [trying to break the siege] are coming. We are just waiting for them,” she said. Some people have escaped by climbing out of the building, she said, “but not everyone can do that.''

About 100 people were injured yesterday.

Over the six months of the upheaval 4,491 people have been arrested by riot police.-The Standard

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