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Hong Kong protesters issue demands as they barricade themselves into university

Pro-democracy activists say the government may use the escalating violence as a reason to cancel elections.

A protester runs after throwing petrol bombs at the toll booth for the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong (Ng Han Guan/AP)
A protester runs after throwing petrol bombs at the toll booth for the Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong (Ng Han Guan/AP)

By Ken Moritsugu, Associated Press

Protesters who barricaded themselves in to a university in Hong Kong have partially cleared a road they were blocking and demanded the government commit to holding local elections on November 24.

One lane of the Tolo Highway was cleared in both directions on Friday, but the road remained closed after workers sent to clean up shattered glass were threatened by protesters with bows and arrows and hard objects, authorities said.

“Since the highway is still filled with hard objects and devoid of any road signs or traffic cones, reopening the road would certainly cause danger to road users,” a government statement said.

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Bricks are scattered on a road in front of a barricade built by protesters (Vincent Yu/AP)

The protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the road would be blocked again and warned of other unspecified consequences if the government did not meet their demand within 24 hours.

The district council elections are seen as a barometer of public sentiment in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, which has been riven by anti-government protests for more than five months.

Pro-democracy activists say the government may use the escalating violence as a reason to cancel the elections.

The police, meanwhile, said they would investigate the death of a 70-year-old man who was hit in the head by a brick as a murder case.

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Protesters pass out goggles to fellow demonstrators at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Kin Cheung/AP)

The man died of injuries on Thursday, and the Hong Kong government expressed outrage over what it called “the malicious acts of the rioters”.

In London, Hong Kong justice secretary Teresa Cheng was pushed to the ground by activists who were following her and shouting at her, injuring her hand, the Chinese Embassy said.

“We express strong indignation and unequivocally condemn the activists,” the embassy said in a statement. “Now, they are taking such violence abroad and into the UK.”

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam called the attack “barbaric” and said it violated the principles of a civilised society.

Students and other protesters have taken over major campuses in Hong Kong, building barricades and stockpiling petrol bombs and other weapons.

PA

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