Student protesters are barricading themselves at universities across Hong Kong, stockpiling makeshift weapons and turning campuses into what look like war zones. It marks a dangerous new phase in Hong Kong’s 5-month-old anti-government protests.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University now looks something more like a fortress. Hundreds of students have hunkered down, laying bricks to obstruct police vehicles they are certain eventually will arrive, and setting up multiple levels of security checkpoints. Inside, students arm themselves with whatever they can, including arrows, bricks and molotov cocktails.
Hong Kong has seen 24 weeks of protests, but what is taking place here is new. Students barricading themselves in at universities, preparing for extended confrontations. It’s the start of what could be a dangerous new phase of anti-government protests.”
WATCH: Inside Campus Fortresses, Hong Kong Students Prep for Battle
Students don’t want to give their names. But this protester is eager to defend the aggressive tactics.
“We have seen the police brutality in Hong Kong … how can we tolerate that?”
This is going on in at least five Hong Kong campuses. Many schools canceled class for the semester. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, police moved in earlier this week, prompting a night of clashes that looked more like battles for territory. Police later accused the students of turning the campuses into “weapons factories.”
But this protester says that’s unfair.
“The violence between us and the police is imbalanced. You can see that. We just use the things we have, just only some bottles or some plastic. But the police have the gun, have the tear gas. So the violence between us and the police is totally unbalanced.”
In the downtime, the students test their weapons, which sometimes don’t work. A light moment that masks the gravity of what they’re doing.
“All the protesters are scared. Because maybe we will die. But we think if we don’t stand up this day, all the freedom in Hong Kong will lose. So there is no way to [go] back for us.”
These are student protesters who know they’ll probably lose, but who nonetheless are prepared to fight.