The Latest: Some exchange students urged to leave Hong Kong
HONG KONG – The Latest on the Hong Kong protests (all times local):
Several Nordic students at Hong Kong Baptist University are being moved because anti-government demonstrators are on the school grounds.
Student Elina Neverdal Hjoennevaag told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Wednesday that they are being sent to a hotel, adding, “I don’t really know what is happening. I must pack.”
She said she and several other exchange students were told to pack and move away from the university.
She said, “people walked out with their suitcases, Many cried.”
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry says on its website that "students should continuously evaluate campus safety if teaching is interrupted due to protests."
The Technical University of Denmark urged its 36 students in Hong Kong to pack up and return home.
Police on Tuesday raided the Chinese University of Hong Kong, setting off violent clashes. The university remained barricaded by demonstrators on Wednesday as the city’s 5-month-long anti-government unrest turns increasingly violent.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is calling on Hong Kong’s government to cease “acts of repression,” saying such acts are threatening freedom and the rule of law.
Commenting on the police assault on students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tsai tweeted that police in Taiwan used similar tactics during the years of martial law, which was lifted in 1987.
She wrote: “Our dark past, which we have worked so hard to put behind us, has become the present reality for Hong Kong.”
She says, “I solemnly call on the Hong Kong government to stop these acts of repression before it is too late.”
Hong Kong police have defended their actions, saying they were acting in self-defense and asserting that campuses are not a refuge for lawbreakers.
Tsai called on all democratic nations to “stand with Hong Kong” and express concern over developments there.
She says, “Right now, authoritarianism is eroding freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong.”
A Danish technical university is urging its 36 students in Hong Kong to pack up and return to Denmark.
Anders Overgaard Bjarklev, head of the Technical University of Denmark, says the decision came after some of the riots have moved to the campuses and “some of our students have been forced to move from their dormitories because they were put on fire.”
Overgaard Bjarklev told Danish broadcaster DR Wednesday that DTU, as the university is known, made the decision late Tuesday for the students “to come to Denmark in an orderly fashion.”
DTU would also solve “any academic challenges associated with the interrupted course.”
Hong Kong police say they raided a university campus to make arrests because they strongly suspected it was being used to make gasoline bombs to attack police.
Police have been criticized for entering the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Tuesday, which some called an attack on higher education and sign of deteriorating relations between police and the public.
Police spokesman Tse Chun-chung said at a briefing Wednesday that the action was taken after riot police guarding a pedestrian bridge next to the campus came under repeated attack.
He questioned how protesters and students could obtain hundreds of gasoline bombs and deploy them quickly in the area, saying it raised strong suspicions that they had been assembled there.
“Nowhere in Hong Kong is lawless land,” Tse said, adding that police would pursue lawbreakers wherever they seek refuge. “No excuse, no political motives can justify or glorify this madness.”
Police said across Hong Kong on Tuesday, they fired 1,567 tear gas canisters, 1,312 rubber bullets and 380 beanbag rounds. A total of 142 people were arrested and 10 people were taken to hospitals with injuries.
China’s foreign ministry has again warned the United States not to interfere with Hong Kong’s affairs, saying the city is part of China.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing Wednesday that members of the U.S. Senate should stop trying to promote bills on human rights or democracy in Hong Kong.
“I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and cannot be interfered by any external forces,” he said.
Five months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong have grown increasingly violent.
Mainland Chinese students fleeing violent protests in Hong Kong are taking advantage of a program that offers them a week of free accommodation in hotels and hostels in the neighboring city of Shenzhen.
Chinese media reported that one hostel had received more than 80 applications for rooms as of 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The “Grads Home” service was established in 2013 to provide short-term accommodations to recent graduates looking for jobs in the tech hub.
The Beijing Evening News reported that mainland students have said in online posts that protesters have broken into their dormitories, spray-painted insults on walls and banged on their doors.
Hong Kong police said Wednesday that they had helped a group of mainland students leave their campus after it was barricaded by demonstrators.
Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has suspended classes at primary and secondary schools because of violence and described the situation in the city as “chilling.”
The bureau also appealed for “school children to stay at home, not to hang around in the streets, to stay away from danger, and not to participate in illegal activities.”
Many of the masked people taking part in the protests are thought to be high school and university students.
The bureau said schools would still be open while classes were suspended Wednesday and Thursday and teachers should show up at work in case some parents sent their children to classes.
It added that schools should ensure the safety of children who did attend.
Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.
Many subway and rail stations were closed Wednesday after the protesters blocked commutes and vandalized trains. Classes were suspended at schools and universities.
Police and protesters battled on multiple fronts overnight at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Gasoline bombs and fires lit the nighttime scene, and the situation remained tense in the morning.
A police official said protesters were carrying out insane acts and Hong Kong was on the brink of a total breakdown after more than five months of protests.
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