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Hong Kong Protesters Use Fire, Arrows  11/17 07:36

   HONG KONG (AP) -- A Hong Kong police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow 
and protesters set an overhead footbridge on fire Sunday as they fought to keep 
police using tear gas and water cannons from advancing on their university 
campus stronghold.

   Police said the arrow struck a media liaison officer in the calf and he was 
taken to a hospital. Photos on the department's Facebook page show the arrow 
sticking out of the back of the officer's leg through his pants.

   As riot police moved in from all sides, some protesters retreated inside 
Hong Kong Polytechnic University while others set fires on bridges leading to 
it.

   A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train 
station to the campus over the approach to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, a major 
road under Hong Kong's harbor that has been blocked by the protesters for days.

   The use of bows and arrows, along with a gasoline bombs launched with 
catapults, threatened to escalate the violence in the more than five-month-long 
anti-government movement. Protesters are trying to keep the pressure on Hong 
Kong leaders, who have rejected most of their demands.

   The protests were sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed 
the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland. Activists saw it as an 
erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy under the "one country, two systems" formula 
implemented in 1997, when Britain returned the territory to China.

   The bill has been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider 
resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong 
Kong by Communist China, along with calls for full democracy for the territory.

   Several hundred people formed a human chain Sunday in central Hong Kong in a 
peaceful rally in support of the movement.

   Azaze Chung, a university student, said the government should respond to the 
protesters' demands, not just use force against them.

   Police and protesters faced off all day outside Polytechnic after a pitched 
battle the previous night in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and 
gasoline bombs that left fires blazing in the street.

   A large group of people arrived in the morning to try to clean up the road 
but were warned away by protesters. Riot police shot several volleys of tear 
gas at the protesters, who sheltered behind a wall of umbrellas and threw 
gasoline bombs into nearby bushes and trees, setting them on fire.

   The protesters held their ground for most of the day, as water cannon trucks 
drove over bricks and nails strewn by protesters to spray them at close range 
--- some with water dyed blue to help police identify protesters afterward.

   Protesters began retreating into the university near sunset, fearing they 
would be trapped as police fired tear gas volleys and approached from other 
directions. The protesters have barricaded the entrances to the campus and set 
up narrow access control points.

   They are the holdouts from larger groups that occupied several major 
campuses for much of last week.

   Another group threw bricks in the street to block a main thoroughfare in the 
Mongkok district, as police fired tear gas to try to disperse them. The 
disruption to Nathan Road traffic may have been an attempt to distract police 
during the standoff at Polytechnic.

   Opposition lawmakers criticized the Chinese military for joining a cleanup 
to remove debris from streets near Hong Kong Baptist University on Saturday.

   Dozens of Chinese troops, dressed in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts, 
ran out in loose formation and picked up paving stones, rocks and other 
obstacles that had cluttered the street

   The military is allowed to help maintain public order, but only at the 
request of the Hong Kong government. The government said that it had not 
requested the military's assistance, describing it as a voluntary community 
activity.

   The Education Bureau announced that classes from kindergarten to high school 
would be suspended again on Monday because of safety concerns. Classes have 
been canceled since Thursday, after the bureau came under criticism for not 
doing so earlier.


(KR)

 
 
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