A police officer was struck in the leg by an arrow shot by a Hong Kong activist on Sunday, the city’s force said, as fierce clashes raged at a university which has become a fulcrum of pro-democracy protests.
Activists have vowed to “squeeze the economy” as the increasingly divided city reels from one of the worst weeks of violence in the months-long crisis.
Images showed the arrow embedded in the calf of the police officer, who was working with the force’s media liaison team at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), the scene of fierce clashes. A statement said he was taken to hospital in “a conscious state.”
Police deployed water cannon and tear gas against protesters occupying the campus in the Hung Hom area of Kowloon, now a key battleground as the demonstrators fight to keep a stranglehold on the Cross-Harbor Tunnel nearby, blocked since Tuesday.
Protests have swept the global financial hub since June as many in the city of 7.5 million people have vented fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.
A marked change in tactics last week to a “Blossom Everywhere” campaign of blockades and vandalism stretched the police force, shut down large chunks of Hong Kong’s train network and forced schools and shopping malls to close.
Students and protesters occupied several major universities around the city – the first time a movement characterized by its fluidity and unpredictability has coagulated in fixed locations.
A poster circulating on social media called for the “dawn action” to continue on Monday. “Get up early, directly target the regime, squeeze the economy to increase pressure,” it said.
The education bureau said schools will remain closed at the start of the week “for the sake of safety.”
The protests started against a now shelved bill to allow extradition to China but have billowed to encompass wider issues such as perceived police brutality and calls for universal suffrage in the former British colony.
Two people have died this month as the violence worsened, while the financial hub has been pushed into a recession by the turmoil.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs assured there is still no need to evacuate the more than 370,000 Filipino workers in Hong Kong despite continued mass protests.
“Contrary to some false reports circulating in social media, the DFA wishes to assure everyone that Filipinos in Hong Kong remain safe and are largely unaffected by the ongoing protests in the area,” the DFA said in an advisory issued over the weekend.
“Those wishing to follow the impact of developments in Hong Kong on our nationals there are advised to visit the Consulate’s website for updates and advisories, instead of turning to questionable sources of information in the social media,” it added.
The department has advised Filipinos in Hong Kong “to stay alert and avoid areas of protest, and to refrain from wearing or carrying anything that could mistakenly identify them as part of the protest action.”
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