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Hong Kong universities become ‘battlefields’

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Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters fought intense battles with riot police on a university campus and paralysed the city’s upmarket business district extending one of the most violent stretches of unrest seen in more than five months of political chaos.

The confrontations followed a particularly brutal day when police shot a protester and a man was set on fire, prompting calls from western powers for compromise but further fury in China against any challenge to its rule. The city’s universities emerged as a new flashpoint with sustained clashes at major campuses for the first time.

The epicentre was the Chinese University of Hong Kong where the usually placid hillside grounds were turned into a battlefield. Police fired repeated volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters who had built barricades ending an hours-long stand-off between the two sides.

Protesters responded with bricks and petrol bombs, while a vehicle used in a barricade was set alight.

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