The US has condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong after the city’s police force attempted to storm a major university on a night of fire and violence.
Hong Kong police laid siege to the Polytechnic University last night and on Monday morning, firing rubber bullets and tear gas to pin down anti-government protesters armed with petrol bombs to stop them from fleeing.
The scenes were the latest iteration of protests that have led to an increasingly violent atmosphere in Hong Kong. Protesters – mainly students – have turned their ire on the city’s police force, which they accuse of brutality.
Last week, the police shot a protester, who was left in critical condition, a person was set on fire, and a 70-year-old died after being hit with a brick.
The stand-off at the university followed a day of violent clashes that saw protesters throw bricks and petrol bombs at police and set alight a police car.
Many protesters retreated to the Polytechnic University, where barricades were erected and fires raged both inside and outside the building.
Following this violence on Sunday night and Monday morning – some of the worst the city has yet seen – a senior US official called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong’s freedom.
“We condemn the unjustified use of force and urge all sides to refrain from violence and engage in constructive dialogue,” the senior official in President Donald Trump’s White House said.
“As the President has said, the United States expects Beijing to honor its commitments under the Sino-British joint declaration and to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system and democratic way of life,” the official said.
Hong Kong’s economy has been hard-hit by the protests which have rocked the city since April. The city fell into its first recession in a decade in the third quarter, with the economy shrinking by 3.2 per cent.
Tourists have been deterred from travelling to the city while many students from mainland China have returned home.
(Image credit: Getty)