Foreign Students to Leave Hong Kong Amid Protest Chaos

On Thursday students from Europe as well as mainland China and Taiwan were leaving the city as political unrest shifts to universities and have become a focus of battles between riot police and anti-government demonstrators demanding greater democracy. 

Danish university chief tells 36 students to return home as several protesters injured in the violence. Hundreds of mainland Chinese students are also fleeing, while Taiwan is evacuating 81 from Chinese University after campus clashes. 

Police have accused the university of being a “manufacturing base for petrol bombs and a refuge for rioters and criminals” after some protesters fired burning arrows – taken from the university sports center – at officers and threw 400 petrol bombs. 

Police fired more than 1,500 rounds of tear gas and more than 1,300 rubber bullets at the demonstrators. The city was paralyzed, with much of its public transport suspended and all universities closed.

Student Elina Neverdal Hjoennevaag told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Wednesday they were 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, saying: “People walked out with their suitcases. Many cried.”

The Norwegian foreign ministry said on its website that “students should continuously evaluate campus safety if teaching is interrupted due to protests”.

Police on Tuesday raided the Chinese University of Hong Kong, setting off violent clashes. The university remained barricaded by demonstrators on Thursday, with roadblocks and brick walls at the school’s various entrances. Protesters also occupied a bridge that leads to the campus.

Anders Overgaard Bjarklev, the head of Technical University of Denmark, said the decision to move came after some of the riots shifted to the campuses. “Some of our students have been forced to move from their dormitories because they were put on fire.”

The Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, called on Hong Kong’s government to cease “acts of repression,”, saying they threatened freedom and the rule of law.

>Juthy Saha

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