, 48 tweets, 14 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
That was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. At PolyU now. This is after an armored vehicle made a charge for the protesters on the bridge only to get engulfed in flames after petrol bombs were thrown. It reversed, while on fire, as police fired teargas. #HongKongProtest
It’s 4am. A group of journalists have set up camp in a room at PolyU, watching the live-streams. Downstairs, protesters continue clashing with police as they have for 19 hours. Outside, Yau Tsim Mong District seems to be in chaos. Many journos have left, fearing their safety.
Police attacked campus. Fire on the bridge and at the main entrance.
Explosions heard on bridge from Molotovs. I’ve seen a couple protesters sobbing hysterically in fear. Protesters trying to put entrance fire out.
The protesters trying to put out the fire were stopped by more hardcore frontliners. Fired have subsided slightly but still worrying to see them working to make more molotovs as they increasingly barricade themselves in.
Despite firefighters putting out the major fires, some are determined to set more fires. Idk why. They’ve given up now, and there’s currently a lull in the action. I’ve never seen so many utterly exhausted people, able to sleep sitting shortly after such adrenaline-fueled chaos.
Protesters collectively decided to make a run for it en masse. Police quickly started firing tear gas as people showed up at the entrance. Protesters made a retreat and are now back on campus. I am not sure what the police want.
PolyU is currently calm, with lots of people sleeping and refueling in the canteen. They are currently short on hands and need people to wash dishes and cut ingredients: "We're all rioters, too! Come help us!"
A kid came up to me while I was on my computer.
"Do you have an extra phone?"
"An extra phone? No, why?"
"I lost mine and I just want to be able to call my family if I get arrested."
I was talking to a volunteer medic earlier, as they were deciding whether to make a run for it.
"No matter what, we're screwed. It's just a matter of which option leaves us less screwed."
I commented she'd have to make a decision between helping the injured as a medic, or trying to escape herself.
"Of course I already made my decision. Why else would I have been on the frontline for months? If I hadn't made that decision I wouldn't be here."
Tear gas fired onto campus at PolyU
Apologies for delayed tweets. At around 1:40pm, protesters made another run for it. Police were more aggressive than before, firing teargas from multiple directions & charging into teargas cloud so dense none of us knew they were coming until they were right in front of us.
Police were trying to catch protesters as they ran back to campus. One officer was punching any protester he could, his fist being the first point of contact with any protester.
Arrests were pretty brutal (though I didn’t see bad baton beatings of subdued protesters as I had previously). I saw multiple subdued protesters getting dragged along concrete. Several had bloodied faces.
A relatively small number of journalists were documenting the arrests. Though it does happen that journalists crowd the police, it was *not* the case here. An officer fired 3-4 bursts of pepper bullets at the feet of a group of 4 journalists. (Shot for @GettyImages.)
About an hour ago, police were shouting at PolyU protesters through a loudspeaker: “We’ve given you many opportunities. You won’t be allowed to leave. You have completely destroyed the university. If you are a PolyU student, you should think hard about what you’re doing.”
About an hour ago, roughly 25 injured ppl were taken away by ambulances. Some were visibly injured or unwell. There were however about a dozen young ppl who did not seem visibly hurt & who were led away like prisoners: single file, hands on the shoulders of the person in front.
(FYI: As a photographer, I often tweet late and without photos as I have to prioritize taking and filing photos from my camera.)
What just happened at PolyU is beyond belief. I only caught the very tail end but colleagues witnessed much of it. Protesters orchestrated an escape straight out of a movie: they climbed down hoses from a pedestrian bridge onto a highway, where motorbikes whisked them away.
Apparently the police weren’t so reckless as to fire weapons as they climbed down, but they did fire teargas at the end. Protesters fired arrows back, but I doubt they got anywhere near. It’s estimated at least 50 escaped. Absolutely mind-boggling they managed to pull this off.
Honestly, if I didn’t catch the tail end and if I didn’t know the people who witnessed it and if there weren’t video... I don’t know if I would have believed this happened.
After some negotiation and much arguing, 60-80 kids under 18 turn themselves in and are led away, led by ex-LegCo president Jasper Tsang. Many are in tears, and many took lots of gentle coaxing. Apparently many hardcore frontliners are furious about the surrender.
I’ve now been at PolyU for 42 hours. Based on my very rough estimates, between the rappelling escape (~100), the release of the children (~80), the “surrender” of those who asked for medical attention (~120), and other smaller escapes (?), there can only be ~100-150 left at most.
This morning, I watched several small groups attempt escapes. Worryingly, many tried to crawl through sewage pipes despite the obvious danger & uncertainty. That’s how desperate they are. Firefighters showed up to check no one was stuck and to convince protesters it wasn’t safe.
Here’s a diver from the fire services dept going through a sewage pipe to make sure no one was inside, which was alarming since if they did find someone, they’d almost certainly be dead. There were dubious rumors about protesters having successfully escaped thru the sewer system.
Many protesters decided to seek medical attention, which meant medics triaged them and led them out to ambulances. This does mean they can face charges (and probably will), but many said it was better than getting charged AND getting beaten up by the police.
I reaaaaally have to get some sleep as I’ve slept 1.5 hours since getting here but I’ll post more updates later. Thank you for your concern everyone! I’m totally fine, just tired.
Wow. There are four @MSF volunteers here. Like it’s an actual war zone. They are helping to clean things up and are apparently leaving tonight.
Gyms that became dorms for the PolyU protesters have now been almost entirely abandoned. It’s eerie.
This took about 5 mins of casual looking the other day to collect: all the less lethal projectiles used by the police when clashes went on for hours & hours at PolyU. From L to R: old rubber bullet, new rubber bullet, tear gas, tear gas, tear gas, tear gas, tear gas, foam round.
Food is running low but there is still probably enough left to last the remaining people a few days. Snack scavenging has become my favorite pastime. (I’m fine! I took my first shower since arriving and feel like a million very tired bucks.)
Protester gave a press conference. He says he is part of a team of ~40 who have unanimously decided to stay until the end and to fight, with no plans to surrender or to escape. He’s 16. The youngest in his group is 12. When asked why they haven’t left: “We have a chance to win.”
Workers cleaned up the outside pretty quickly, sweeping the floor after the construction trucks took away the major debris. One cleaner yelled loudly at protesters being taken away by medics: “That’s a rioter! Rioter!”
Lawmaker Fernando Cheung is here to speak to the protesters. He said he tried to come 4x on Sunday but the police didn’t let him. “I don’t know why they let me in. I think it’s because they want me to convince them to leave. But why would I do that? I’m here to support them.”
He thinks that they should band together and release a statement, to express a clear stance as to why they are doing this. He thinks the world would listen.
Spoke to some hardcore frontline protesters aged 16, 17 & 20. They said they’d rather get shot & die than get arrested, bc you don’t know what you’d face. They joked that if the police threatened to shoot (live rounds), they’d point to their foreheads & ask for them to aim there.
Earlier: this is what it’s like when you try to take photos of the police from campus or whenever you simply stand somewhere on campus visible to officers standing guard. They’re far away but I assume they have binoculars and can see we are press.
The police were also taunting PolyU protesters by shining lights, playing loud music and telling them to come out.
They had been taunting protesters yesterday too, from a distance close enough for me to yell that we (a group of photographers) were journalists. “So you say you’re a journalist then you’re journalist?! Come down!”
All day there had been a slow trickle of protesters asking for medical help, effectively surrendering themselves. I’d estimate 50 left that way; there must be around ~100 left on campus. This, btw, that the food supply is becoming less & less of a problem w/ fewer mouths to feed.
This is what kids are eating in the canteen. No one is worried about food. But there are protesters here with infected wounds (like the one eating the salad) and there’s only a couple first aid volunteers left.
I went into the library for the first time. The entrance is flooded so I think that’s preventing most from going in/out. I found a PolyU student reading research papers about engineered resistance to virus replication in mosquitoes. “This library is super valuable!”
He’s a law student at PolyU and also wanted to show me the book he was reading: “A brief history of neoliberalism” by David Harvey. “I’m stuck here what else am I going to do?”
Oh and he wants me to tag @profdavidharvey
3:46pm: still a trickle of protesters surrendering themselves to medics
Still more protesters being taken out by medics, with one on a stretcher. Staff from PolyU are here.
Saw a protester scavenging for supplies in one of the supply rooms. I asked if he had enough food. "We have enough for a year!"
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Laurel Chor

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!