The protesters built and maintained barricades at the campus entrances. Image credit: Wouter

Third-year IBCoM student Wouter witnessed the situation turn into a violent confrontation, as the police fired vast quantities of tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters who responded by throwing Molotov cocktails at the police. Despite the chaos, Wouter himself hasn’t been injured: “I still feel quite safe in my dorm on the campus, and the campus is actually very big, so the point where the confrontation was taking place is actually quite far away from me,” he told EM on Wednesday.

The students set up a checkpoint at a campus entrance to check the protesters entering the campus, and to stop undercover police from infiltrating the protest. Image credit: Wouter
The protesters had to improvise barricades from the available material: here a student is using a power tool to cut through a fence to further build up the barricade. Image credit: Wouter
A student is being treated for burn marks from the tear gas thrown by the police. Image credit: Wouter
The police used the less-lethal weapons of rubber bullets and tear gas in response to the protesters. The tear gas could still cause severe burns and a hit to the head with a rubber bullet can render a person unconscious, which is why the protesters protected themselves with helmets and gas masks. Image credit: Wouter

On Wednesday, after events had escalated on campus the previous night, the Chinese University of Hong Kong announced that the rest of the semester would be cancelled. “The situation is still a bit unclear right now but it is likely that there will at least be no more physical classes for the rest of the semester,” Wouter told EM over the phone. He is not sure what this will mean for the remainder of his exchange in Hong Kong which was supposed to last the whole semester. At the moment, all of the exits from the campus are barricaded but it is possible to get past them as a student. The public transport is in chaos and taxis don’t drive to the campus anymore, which means that it is more difficult to get to the city.

The students used a laser to distract the police. Image credit: Wouter
The protesters used umbrellas to protect themselves from the heavy tear gas used by the police. Image credit: Wouter
A protester is holding one of the Molotov cocktails that were thrown at the police. Image credit: Wouter
The protesters protected their faces with scarves and gas masks. Image credit: Wouter

Due to the drastic increase in the unrest on campus, some of Wouter’s exchange friends were already packing their bags to leave. “It is quite a surreal situation, you know,” he ponders. “Just a couple of days ago everything was pretty normal and now suddenly I’m saying goodbye to my friends who are leaving.” Wouter himself has also been offered the option to leave CUHK by the International Office at Erasmus University, but he is still waiting for further information about the fate of his studies at his exchange university.

Most of the protesters are students from different universities around Hong Kong. Some of the students chose to camp out on the campus on Tuesday night after the confrontation ended, in fear that the police would return. Image credit: Wouter
The protesters took turns guarding the front line and sleeping. Image credit: Wouter
Protest Hongkong op campus – Wouter

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