Posted on Nov 18, 2019
The European Union and the United States have condemned the escalating violence in Hong Kong amid fears of a bloody crackdown as authorities laid siege to a university campus occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators, Euronews reports.
Hundreds of protesters armed with petrol bombs and other homemade weapons had taken refuge in the Polytechnic University after a weekend of mayhem, which saw roads blocked, a bridge set alight and a police officer shot with a bow and arrow.
Protesters who tried to make a run for freedom were met with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.
“The police might not storm the campus but it seems like they are trying to catch people as they attempt to run,” Democratic lawmaker Hui Chi-fung told Reuters.
“It’s not optimistic now. They might all be arrested on campus. Lawmakers and school management are trying to liaise with the police but failed.”
A spokeswoman for foreign affairs at the European Commission expressed "deep concern" on Monday over reports that Hong Kong first responders and medical staff were being detained by law enforcement forces, preventing them from providing assistance to injured people.
"Any violence is of course unacceptable and any action by the law enforcement authorities must remain strictly proportionate and fundamental freedoms, including in particular the right of peaceful assembly and expression, must be upheld," Maja Kocijancic told reporters.
Britain also described itself as "seriously concerned" over the violence on Monday with a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying London continues to urge "restraint on all sides and support the right to peaceful protest."
The Foreign Office added that "it is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment, and that safe passage is made available for all those who wish to leave the area."
The United States had earlier condemned the "unjustified use of force" in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong's freedom, a senior official in President Donald Trump's administration said.
According to Hong Kong's Hospital Authority, 38 people were wounded during the night of Sunday to Monday.
Dan, a 19-year-old protester on the Polytechnic University campus, said protesters may need international help.
"We've been trapped here for too long. We need all Hong Kongers to know we need help," one tearful protestor said. "I don't know how much longer we can go on like this."
Recent days have seen a dramatic escalation of the unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into chaos for almost six months.
Demonstrators angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong's promised freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997 say they are responding to excessive use of force by police.
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