- Hong Kong govt dismisses rumours of weekend curfew
- Police would appoint 100 prison guards and looking for other reinforcements
Pro-democracy protesters paralysed parts of Hong Kong for a fourth day yesterday, forcing schools to close and blocking highways, as students built campus barricades and stockpiled weapons and the government dismissed rumours of a curfew.
Thousands of students hunkered down on several campuses, surrounded by piles of food, bricks, petrol bombs, arrows with heads wrapped in cladding, catapults and other homemade weapons.
Police said the Chinese University, in the New Territories, had become a “weapons factory and an arsenal” with bows and arrows and catapults.
“Their acts are another step closer to terrorism,” Chief Superintendent (Public Relations) Tse Chun-chung told a briefing, referring to protests on all campuses.
He also said police would temporarily avoid directly clashing with “high-spirited rioters” to give themselves a breather and avoid injuries.
China’s Global Times tabloid, owned by the state-run People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said on Twitter that the Hong Kong government was expected to announce a weekend curfew after some of the worst violence in decades in the Chinese-ruled city.
It deleted the post after a short time. The Hong Kong government said the rumours were “totally unfounded”.
Protesters have torched vehicles and buildings, hurled petrol bombs at police stations and trains, dropped debris from bridges on to traffic below and vandalised shopping malls and campuses, raising questions about how and when more than five months of unrest can be brought to an end.
Police said arrows were fired at officers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the morning.
Several universities announced there would be no classes on campuses for the rest of the year.
Baptist University, next to a People’s Liberation Army base in Kowloon Tong, issued an “urgent appeal”, telling students to stay away from campus.
“Your safety is so dear to our hearts and to your parents’ and friends’ hearts,” it said. “Please stay away from harm’s way.”
Hundreds of protesters occupied roads in the city’s business district, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate, in the middle of the day.
Anger grew over perceived police brutality as the protests intensified. Police deny being heavy handed and say they have shown restraint in the face of potentially deadly attacks.
Police said they would appoint 100 Correctional Services Department staff, who look after prisons, to reinforce the streets.