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Armoured police vehicle set ablaze as Hong Kong violence escalates

Armoured police vehicle set ablaze as Hong Kong violence escalates

An armoured police vehicle was set on fire by protesters. (Image: Reuters)

HONG KONG: An armoured police vehicle was set ablaze on Sunday (Nov 17) by a barrage of petrol bombs as it tried to clear a flyover of protesters near a flashpoint university campus.

As flames engulfed the front of the vehicle the driver slowly reversed, according to live-streamed video of the incident shown by several local media. 

Scores of protesters have dug in at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) vowing to defend it from police and to maintain a blockade on the nearby Cross Harbour Tunnel, which has been closed for several days.

READ: Arrow fired by Hong Kong protester hits police officer: Authorities

Clashes spread into Sunday evening, as protesters met water cannon with petrol bombs and police tried to clear the bridge above the Cross-Harbour Tunnel where protesters took cover behind umbrellas.

Protesters set fire to debris on the bridge, in turn setting off a series of small explosions, forcing many to flee. The fire brigade moved in after about half an hour to douse the flames.

Elsewhere in the densely-populated Kowloon district, clusters of protesters traded petrol bombs for tear gas with police as violence rumbled into the night.

Earlier, activists parried an attempt by police to break through into the PolyU campus, firing rocks from a homemade catapult from the university roof.

READ: Fresh university clashes in Hong Kong as protesters hurl petrol bombs

A fire is seen on a footbridge between Hung Hom MTR Station and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Nov 17, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip Fong)

An AFP reporter saw a team of masked archers - several carrying sports bows - patrolling the campus.

Police shared images of an arrow embedded in the calf of an officer outside the campus and decried the use of "lethal weapons," declaring the campus a "riot scene" - a rioting conviction carries up to 10 years in jail.

Protests have tremored through the global financial hub since June with many in the city of 7.5 million people venting fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.

China has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate the dissent, and there have been concerns that Beijing could send in troops to put an end to the unrest.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: AGENCIES/zl


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