Hong Kong police have besieged a university campus occupied by protesters who have been fighting back with arrows and petrol bombs.
Police have threatened to use live bullets if ‘rioters’ at Hong Kong Polytechnic University did not stop using weapons.
The warning comes after an officer was shot in the leg with an arrow when a fresh round of violence erupted during protests in Hong Kong.
Gasoline bombs were launched with catapults as the city’s streets threatened to tip further into chaos, in what is now the sixth month of demonstrations against Chinese influence.
Authorities were today trying to drive back protesters occupying the university campus and blocking a major road tunnel under Hong Kong’s harbour.
Riot police moved in after issuing an ultimatum for about 200 people to leave area.
Some anti-government demonstrators retreated inside the university while others set fires on nearby bridges.
A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train station to the campus.
Protesters warned off a large group of suspected plain-clothed Chinese soldiers who arrived in the morning to try to tidy the road.
Police responded with another volley of tear gas canisters, some of which bounced off a wall of the movement’s symbolic umbrellas.
in a statement broadcast via Facebook, police spokesman Louis Lau said: ‘I hereby warn rioters not to use petrol bombs, arrows, cars or any deadly weapons to attack police officers.
‘If they continue such dangerous actions, we would have no choice but to use the minimum force necessary, including live rounds, to fire back.’
Protesters started launching gasoline bombs into nearby bushes and trees, setting them on fire.
Police called in water cannons in the early afternoon, using blue-dyed water to drench demonstrators.
The picture of the officer’s impaled calf was shared by Hong Kong police, who said he was taken to hospital.
Protesters have retreated from a number of other campuses they were holding as of last week, but are still blocking access to one of the three main road tunnels between Hong Kong Island and the rest of the city.
The movement was sparked by a government attempt to pass a law allowing the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China.
Critics called it an attempt to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, which is protected by the ‘one country, two systems’ principle brought when the UK ceded the territory to China in 1997.
The bill was shelved last month but protests have continued as part of a self-described resistance movement against interference by the Communist Party of China in Hong Kong affairs, calling for stronger democracy in the territory.
Chinese soldiers dressed in plain shorts and T-shirts took to the streets yesterday for what is thought to be the first time since the protests began. Armed only with brooms, they helped dismantle abandoned barricades and clean up debris.
The mainland military is only allowed to be deployed at the request of the Hong Kong government.
The government said it had not requested the military assistance, describing it as a voluntary community activity.
Hong Kong’s education department said schools would remain suspended on Monday over safety concerns, after cancelling classes on Thursday and Friday.
The territory’s economy has entered its first recession in a decade as the tensions continue to affect tourism and local businesses.
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