HONG KONG: Dozens of protesters stood firm inside a besieged Hong Kong University on Wednesday (Nov 20), as a standoff with police showed no signs of ending.
Protesters have held the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) campus since Sunday, wielding Motolov cocktails, bricks and arrows.
A large "SOS" sign was laid out across an open courtyard, apparently intended to be viewed from above.
A 20-year-old protester, who gave his name as Ken, said food and water supplies were running low.
“We will die because they don’t let me out,” he said. “Some people want to get out but they cannot. So we left this SOS.”
Protesters said about 50 of them remained after hundreds had fled deteriorating conditions and officials warned that police may fire live rounds.
Around 20 of the holdouts are students of the university, a PolyU official said.
"NEVER GIVE UP"
A 15-year-old armed with a bow and arrow, who identified himself as William, said: "I don't ever give up. Yes, I will fight until the end.
"But ... it's very dangerous, because when you use the bow, the police must shoot you, with some unknown bullets. Maybe real bullets."
Some protesters considered hiding in the maze of campus buildings, as they said a teacher advised them to do.
"I already know where I will hide," a 19-year-old student, who gave his name only as Paul, said as he emerged in a hoodie, shorts and slippers to ask about breakfast in the canteen.
"I have enough food for at least a week and then will see what happens," he said.
Two protesters in full body armour, wielding metal rods, were going to get some sleep in the library after their night shift watching police movements outside.
"We need some energy to get ready for the big fight. Now that there's not many of us left they may want to come in," said a former student named Marc, 26.
"We know this place, it's our home and it is a maze. And we have weapons. We're not going to give up now, it's too late for that," he said.
On Monday, some protesters made daring escapes by sliding down ropes and running to motorcycles waiting to get them away, while others attempted to leave through the sewers.
"It has been a disastrous life for us spending these days in Polytechnic University, because we can't live here. The supply of food, water, electricity is going to run out," said a student named Alesa, who said she had tried twice to escape through the sewer.
"It's in vain," she said. "I'm a bit upset, but overall, I'm peaceful. I think if a generation are destined to be criminals, who is to save the next generation?" she said.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam called for the protesters’ surrender on Tuesday, adding that those over 18 would face rioting charges, but minors would not be arrested.
Police have arrested more than 1,100 people on charges including rioting and possession of offensive weapons, they said.
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