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Tear gas, rubber bullets, petrol bombs fly at CUHK

2019-11-12 HKT 20:05
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  • Tear gas, rubber bullets, petrol bombs fly at CUHK
Police tear-gassed Chinese University President Rocky Tuan and other senior figures, along with students and protesters on Tuesday evening, just as the university chief was crossing a bridge to try to ask officers to heed student demands to release three arrested classmates and leave.

Riot police had been guarding the No. 2 bridge at the university for much of the day, in an attempt to stop people from throwing objects down at MTR tracks and the Tolo Highway below, and had arrested a number of students during an altercation earlier in the afternoon.

At around 7.30 pm, officers suddenly opened fire, after warning Tuan that “this isn’t the time to negotiate”, sending a hail of tear gas and rubber bullets towards him, and a large group of students who were flanking the university chief.

Professor Tuan had just been about to cross the bridge to negotiate with the officers.

But they were having none of it, telling him to leave, adding that he was unable to control the black-shirted people behind him.

Tuan had just been around 50 metres away from the line of riot police when they opened fire.

For around ten minutes, the tear gas and rubber bullets didn’t stop. Reports from the scene indicate that multiple students were hit. One student was apparently hit in the eye, while others were struck on their chest and legs.

Students had also demanded Tuan ask the police to release three students arrested earlier in the day.

Immediately, a large section of the bridge burst into flames as people tossed a steady stream of Molotov cocktails, bricks and other objects, forcing the officers to retreat somewhat.

Tuan had in the afternoon already negotiated an agreement with the police – that they would not enter the campus if the university assumes responsibility to stop students from throwing any more objects off the bridge.

He had said volunteers and security staff would help make sure students keep to the deal, and quoted police as saying that their operation was never to enter the CUHK campus, but to secure the bridge, which is a public area.

But students were unhappy with the deal, saying his priority should be to demand the immediate release of three students and for the police to leave the area immediately.

When Tuan was headed back to try to bargain with police, the tear gas started to fly, turning the area around the bridge into a virtual warzone.

Last updated: 2019-11-12 HKT 20:23