Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday said over 100 protesters are still barricaded inside Hong Kong university.
She made the statement during a press conference in Hong Kong saying that the barricade has been ongoing for the third day in a row amid ongoing unrest.
Lam said around 600 others who were inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the Hung Hom area have surrendered to police.
She said the Hong Kong government was trying to find a peaceful solution to the stand-off between protesters and police.
Lam added that among those who had given themselves up to the authorities were 200 minors.
She said they were allowed to go home after undergoing identity checks, but added that their identification numbers had been noted and that future prosecution remained a possibility.
Lam however said “I asked for a very humanitarian treatment of these minors.’’
RTHK broadcaster reported that parents called on the authorities to drop the accusation of sedition against the approximately 100 remaining students.
According to RTHK the parents who had gathered near the college lamented that it is not fair to simply classify everyone as a rebel.
“Many of the demonstrators were not involved in violent activities but they now did not dare to leave the campus.’’
Police have used tear gas and rubber bullets against the students barricaded in the university.
A conviction for rioting can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years in Hong Kong.
Lam said the security forces wanted a humane solution and called on those still inside the university to surrender peacefully, but she also made it clear that they would then be arrested by the police.
The violent clashes between police and protesters lasted well into the night.
According to information from the Hong Kong daily the South China Morning Post, around 1,000 people were arrested on the campus in the city’s Hung Hom district and in surrounding streets on Monday alone.
More than 8,000 incendiary devices have been found on the campus of the Chinese University (CUHK) after radical forces withdrew from the college after four days of confrontation with the police.
Lam clearly stated that the police would prosecute the “rebels” who were moving from one university to another, building incendiary devices and other life-threatening weapons.
Many schools and childcare centres remained closed on Tuesday due to the violence.
Primary and middle schools were expected to reopen on Wednesday.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June against a now-defunct bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
The movement has since evolved into calls for greater democratic reforms and investigations into police violence.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997 as a semi-autonomous territory. It has special privileges under the “one country, two systems agreement.”
Beijing has reacted angrily to a ruling by a Hong Kong court that a controversial ban on face masks worn during protests was unconstitutional.
Only the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress can decide whether a decree complies with Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the Justice Committee of the congress said.
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa
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