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Hong Kong police officer shot with arrow as violence escalates

Protesters also set an overhead footbridge on fire.

Unrest has continued in Hong Kong today.
Unrest has continued in Hong Kong today.
Image: Kin Cheung/AP/Press Association Images

A HONG KONG police officer has been hit in the leg by an arrow, as unrest continues in the city.

Protesters set an overhead footbridge on fire as they fought to keep police using tear gas and water cannons from advancing on their university campus stronghold.

Police said the arrow struck a media liaison officer in the calf on today and he was taken to a hospital.

Photos on the department’s Facebook page show the arrow sticking out of the back of the officer’s leg.

As riot police moved in from all sides, some protesters retreated inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University while others set fires on bridges leading to it.

A huge blaze burned along much of a long footbridge that connects a train station to the campus over the approach to the Cross Harbour Tunnel, a major road under Hong Kong’s port that has been blocked by the protesters for days.

The use of bows and arrows, along with petrol bombs launched with catapults, threatened to escalate the violence in the more than five-month-long anti-government movement.

hong-kong-protests-photo-gallery An arrow hit a police officer in the leg. Source: AP/PA Images

Protesters are trying to keep the pressure on Hong Kong leaders, who have rejected most of their demands.

The protests were sparked by proposed legislation that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland.

Activists saw it as an erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” formula implemented in 1997, when the UK returned the territory to China.

The bill has been withdrawn but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by communist China, along with calls for full democracy for the territory.

Police and protesters faced off all day after a pitched battle the previous night in which the two sides exchanged tear gas and petrol bombs that left fires blazing in the street.

A large group of people arrived in the morning to try to clean up the road but were warned away by protesters.

Riot police shot several volleys of tear gas at the protesters, who sheltered behind a wall of umbrellas and threw petrol bombs into nearby bushes and trees, setting them on fire.

The protesters held their ground for most of the day, as water cannon trucks drove over bricks and nails strewn by protesters to spray them at close range – some with water dyed blue to help police identify protesters afterwards.

hong-kong-protests Protesters shelter from blue-dyed liquid sprayed by police. Source: AP/PA Images

Protesters began retreating into the university near sunset, fearing they would be trapped as police fired tear gas volleys and approached from other directions.

The protesters have barricaded the entrances to the campus and set up narrow access control points.

They are the holdouts from larger groups that occupied several major campuses for much of last week.

Another group threw bricks in the street to block a main thoroughfare in the Mongkok district, as police fired tear gas to try to disperse them.

The disruption to Nathan Road traffic may have been an attempt to distract police during the standoff at Polytechnic.

Opposition politicians criticised the Chinese military for joining a cleanup to remove debris from streets near Hong Kong Baptist University on Saturday.

Dozens of Chinese troops, dressed in black shorts and olive drab T-shirts, ran out in loose formation and picked up paving stones, rocks and other obstacles that had cluttered the street

The military is allowed to help maintain public order but only at the request of the Hong Kong government.

The government said it had not requested the military’s assistance, describing it as a voluntary community activity.

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