Hundreds of Hong Kong residents took to the streets on Monday to demand freedom for dozens of protesters who remain trapped on the campus of Polytechnic University (PolyU) by a ten-day police siege.
The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported some of those demonstrating on behalf of the Polytechnic University protesters were themselves previously trapped on the campus. Many of the protesters were able to escape when the siege began, some of them in creative and daring ways, while others were arrested while trying to flee.
Estimates of how many remain vary from dozens to only five or six.
Others demanding freedom for the PolyU protesters included young activists chanting movement slogans such as “Five Demands, Not One Less!”, white-collar workers on their lunch breaks, and a cyborg cat from the 22nd Century named Doraemon, who led the other demonstrators in singing protest anthems.
Doraemon sing and conduct with you pic.twitter.com/XnqVBYIkMh
— Galileo Cheng (@galileocheng) November 26, 2019
Also hitting the streets near PolyU were dozens of district councilors elected during last weekend’s sweeping pro-democracy election victory. Five of the councilors were allowed into the school to meet with the trapped protesters, while the others negotiated with police to secure their release.
Gary Fan, one of the councilors allowed into PolyU, returned from the meeting with a statement from the trapped protesters that they do not trust the police, so they want to deal with university administrators. They also asked members of the public not to stage any dangerous rescue attempts to help them.
PolyU Vice President Alexander Wai Ping-kong said on Tuesday that an agreement has been reached to allow the remaining protesters to leave with promises they will not be arrested, although their personal information will be recorded by the police.
University staffers will have their work cut out for them after the siege is lifted because the campus was devastated during the siege. HKFP reported the library is flooded, some buildings were damaged by fire and chemicals, the walls are covered with graffiti, the grounds are littered with broken glass, and the canteen is filled with rotting garbage.
One particular bit of graffiti from the canteen of PolyU has grown famous around the world as photos of it spread across the Internet: a yellow wall spray-painted with a message in black reading, “Dear World, CCP will infiltrate your government. Chinese enterprises $ interferes [with] your political stance. China will harvest your home like Xinjiang. BE AWARE OR BE NEXT!”
CCP means the Chinese Communist Party. Xinjiang is the province where China has forced hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims into concentration camps and subjected the rest to pervasive high-tech surveillance.