HONG KONG – Anti-government protesters dug in at several university campuses across Hong Kong on Wednesday, setting the stage for further confrontations as police said violence in the Chinese-ruled city had reached a “very dangerous and even deadly level”.
Protesters – many of them young students – spent much of Wednesday fortifying barricades and stockpiling food and makeshift weapons, as other roving bands of masked protesters disrupted transport and businesses in many areas.
As night fell without more of the large on-campus clashes seen the previous day, protesters manning the barricades and checkpoints around the universities arranged to sleep in shifts to watch for any approaching police.
Demonstrators have been protesting since June about what they see as meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Allegations of police brutality have fuelled protesters’ anger.
China denies interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.