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27 Nov 2019 | 07:31 PM UTC

Hong Kong: Police to enter Polytechnic University November 28 /update 168

Protester demands police withdraw from around Polytechnic University as officers plan to enter the campus on November 28; further demonstrations expected

security
transportation
HKG

Event

Police officers are planning to enter Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University (PolyU) on Thursday, November 28, as a standoff with protesters at the campus continues into its twelfth consecutive day. A demonstrator at the university issued a statement on Thursday morning (local time), saying that the remaining 20 or so protesters will peacefully leave the campus if the police withdraw and no arrests are made. University representatives have conducted sweeps over the past two days to locate protesters but have only found one person. Clashes between the remaining demonstrators and police officers are possible if they enter the campus. Associated solidarity rallies may also be held in other parts of Hong Kong over the coming hours.

MTR service on the East Rail Line is experiencing some disruptions on Thursday due to damage at several stations. However, traffic and rail service has largely returned to normal. The Cross-Harbor Tunnel, which connects Hung Hom (Kowloon) and Hong Kong Island, reopened on Wednesday, November 27, after being blocked by debris since November 13. Up-to-date information on train service and station closures can be found on the MTR website.

Additional demonstrations are expected over the coming weeks. Activists are planning to hold a rally at Edinburgh Place (Central) from 19:00-21:30 on Thursday in support of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act signed by US President Donald Trump on November 27. The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) is planning to hold a rally at Victoria Park on Sunday, December 8. They have asked supporters to gather from 14:00-18:00. The CHRF has organized the demonstration to mark Human Rights Day, which is observed on December 10 every year.

Further protests may be organized with little warning in the near term and a heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the political situation in the city fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.

Context

Tensions significantly escalated across the territory on November 11, after a police officer shot a protester in Sai Wan Ho. Later in the day, a man confronting protesters was reportedly set on fire.

On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. The bill sparked mass protests of up to 2 million people throughout Hong Kong since June 9. However, protest actions have continued since the government's announcement, as protesters' demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.

Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.

Advice

Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites, to confirm the status of their flights prior to departure for the airport and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

Individuals are also advised to avoid wearing black and white colors around protest zones or rallies as they are associated with protesters.