Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters’ ‘weapons factories’

Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters’ ‘weapons factories’

Flaming arrows and petrol bombs: Inside Hong Kong protesters’ ‘weapons factories’

Written by Reuters

14 Nov, 2019 | 4:28 pm

Reuters – Under a November full moon, hundreds of young people dressed in black set about turning several of Hong Kong’s top universities into fortresses, well stocked with improvised weapons.

At City University, protesters used ping pong tables, potted plants, furniture, sports equipment, and bamboo to form a network of barricades to block roads and fortify the entrances to the student residence complex.

Hundreds of protesters wearing gas masks and helmets tore up piles of paving bricks and ceramic tiles to hurl at police, while others stockpiled dozens of petrol bombs, distributing them to their forward positions.

Small groups sat chatting as they fashioned garden hose and nails into spikes to puncture car tires.

The scene this week was repeated at nearly half a dozen campuses across Hong Kong, where demonstrators say they have been forced into taking a harder line by the government.

Until now, the anti-government protesters have used fast-moving, hit-and-run tactics to “be like water” and avoid arrest in clashes with police.

But now with protesters beginning to wield bows and arrows and occupying improvised breastworks, the tactics threaten to take the pro-democracy campaign to a new level of risk for all sides.

The protesters say their non-violent efforts have been met by brutal police tactics, and their weapons are needed to protect themselves.

Police have shot and wounded at least three protesters.

“It has never been a fair war zone,” said 23-year-old Josh, as he watched protesters practice shooting arrows at Baptist University (BU).

“We have nothing, only masks and the police have guns. We’re only trying to defend ourselves.”

Another protester said he had begun to throw bricks after seeing police attack demonstrators.

“We try every peaceful means but we fail,” said Chris, 19, a student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

“We would probably throw petrol bombs and bricks because we don’t want our friends to be injured,” he said, breaking into tears as he described police crackdowns.

“I’m willing to die for Hong Kong.”

The protesters seem increasingly intent on forcing a showdown, as small raiding parties vandalize shops and block roads, tunnels, and rail lines in widening areas around their campuses.

Authorities said protesters had turned the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) into a “weapons factory”, prompting a crackdown on Tuesday that left many people injured in fiery clashes.

Students accused police of turning the campus into a war zone and said they have no choice but to defend themselves.

Protesters have fortified parts of the campuses of Polytechnic University and the University of Hong Kong (HKU), in addition to CUHK, BU, and City University.

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