Police laid siege to a Hong Kong university Monday, forcing back anti-government protesters armed with Molotov cocktails and other homemade weapons as some tried to escape the campus where hundreds are believed to be holed up.Police had the campus of Hong Kong's Polytechnic University surrounded most of Sunday and into Monday, using water cannons, tear gas and heavy police vehicles in a dramatic escalation of the demonstrations that have swept the semi-autonomous Chinese territory since June.Local Broadcaster RTHK quoted student union acting president Ken Woo early Monday saying that at least 500 people are still inside the campus and he believed some 70-100 meant to leave, but were pushed back.
Officers pushed onto the campus early Monday morning, under constant harassment from demonstrators.
Many protesters wore gas masks or tied handkerchiefs over their mouths and noses to protect themselves from clouds of tear gas.
When attempting to escape or break through the police blockade, most protesters have either been driven back by tear gas or arrested, often aggressively, by police who have designated all those inside the campus as rioters.
The New York Times reported that police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons throughout the day on Sunday against protesters continuing a multiday occupation of the HKPU campus.
Police arrest anti-government protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University Monday.
Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than seven months, tension has been escalating but the government seems unable to solve the situation.
Authorities say 116 people were injured in the violence on Monday. And anybody who comes in will be arrested by the police.
Police are still besieging the university where several hundred protesters are thought to be trapped.
The fights near the entrance resembled a hellish warzone as protesters set barricades ablaze in hope of fending off the riot officers.
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Hong Kong's government said the weekend's events had "reduced the chance" of district elections being held on Sunday as planned, public broadcaster RTHK reports. Some peaceful protesters want to leave while others want to stay.
Activists see the extradition bill as an example of Hong Kong's eroding autonomy under Beijing's rule since the 1997 handover from colonial power Britain.
Police said they fired three live rounds when "rioters" attacked two officers who were attempting to arrest a woman, adding that no was was wounded and the woman escaped. Some stripped down to their underwear, after earlier dousings from water cannon that witnesses said contained an irritant.
The spectre of a bloodier standoff has caused some global concern.
Former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said in a statement: "Hong Kong's Chief Executive has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a massacre. She must order the police to use restraint".
PolyU has been occupied by protesters for several days.
Cheuk said police have the ability and resolve to end the standoff peacefully so protestors should not "try their luck". Police shot and critically wounded a protester on November 11.
Chinese soldiers in a base close to the university were seen on Sunday monitoring developments with binoculars, some dressed in riot gear. Hong Kong is a wonderful place but it has turned into such a state.
On Monday, the People's Daily issued an editorial saying there was no room for compromise: "What we are facing today is a struggle between safeguarding "one country, two systems" and destroying it".