Hong Kong police end university siege | News | DW | 29.11.2019
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Hong Kong police end university siege

The standoff at Hong Kong Polytechnic University was one of the most violent episodes in six months of protests. But the end of the siege saw activists vow to hold protests and strikes in the coming days.

Hong Kong police on Friday lifted a cordon around a university campus that became a battleground for anti-government protesters holed up inside during a 13-day siege.

Police left Hong Kong Polytechnic University after they entered the campus a day earlier to collect evidence and remove dangerous items.

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In a statement, police said that over two days they had seized 3,989 gasoline bombs, 1,339 explosive items, 601 bottles of corrosive liquids and 573 weapons. No protesters were left inside the campus.

Roughly 1,000 protesters had retreated inside the campus after battling police on nearby streets on November 17, leading to a violent standoff that left the university ransacked.

Police said 700 people were arrested and the details of 300 minors were recorded. Some protesters were able to escape. 

The university now faces the daunting task of cleaning up the campus.

In a letter to students on Friday, university officials called on people to stay away.

"The campus is still unsafe, and will continue (to) be closed," officials said.

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More protests planned 

The end of one of the most violent chapters in nearly six months of protests against China and the Hong Kong government came as activists vowed to hold fresh rallies and strikes in the coming days.

The turmoil was triggered in June by a now-shelved bill that would have allowed extraditions to China, stoking concerns that Beijing is encroaching on freedoms in Hong Kong that are not enjoyed on the mainland.

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The protests have since broadened into a movement calling for democratic reforms and police accountability.

The pro-democracy movement gained a boost last weekend when their parties swept local elections, sending a stinging rebuke to Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam.

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cw/rt (AFP, AP)

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