Parents and school heads on Monday made emotional pleas to the authorities for children caught up in the Polytechnic University police siege to be allowed to leave unharmed.
Some 20 secondary school principals urged the government to arrange for them to go into the university campus, saying they believed around 100 children were trapped among the hundreds of protesters there.
At a press conference at Legco organised by education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, the headteachers said they wanted to be allowed to pass through the police cordon thrown up around the site in Hung Hom to escort their students out, adding that some were injured and others "desperate and scared".
Lee Suet-ying, the former chair of the Hong Kong association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, said they were worried that the lives of the students were in danger.
"We want you to be safe, we want to bring you out. It's time for you to go home safely," Lee said.
Meanwhile, a group of parents joined a sit-in demonstration outside the police line in Tsim Sha Tsui, some of them bursting into tears and begging police officers to allow the young people inside the university to come out.
One woman slumped to the ground as she cried out that her only daughter was on the campus in Hung Hom.
"I feel worried. As a parent, I feel helpless," she said, adding that she had seen students getting injured as they tried to escape and she feared her daughter would suffer the same fate.
Another woman told RTHK that her 16-year-old son was among those trapped by the police.
She said she felt completely helpless and accused the government of disregarding the lives of the young people cornered by the police.
The desperation of some of those inside PolyU became evident at around 3pm as two of them ran along the rooftop of a footbridge to escape, only to find the area surrounded by armed police officers.
The members of the public present nearby shouted at the pair to remain calm, with some falling to their knees and imploring the police to let the students go.
After brief negotiations, the two were helped down from the roof with the assistance of police officers, who then took them away.
Parents, schools beg govt to free their children
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