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Daring escape: Hong Kong students flee besieged university

Hong Kong protesters flee a university under a police siege on Monday, November 18, 2019.
Hong Kong protesters flee a university under a police siege on Monday, November 18, 2019. FRANCE 24 | Hong Kong protesters flee a university under a police siege on Monday, November 18, 2019.

Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters staged a daring escape Monday from a besieged university, abseiling on ropes from a bridge and driving away on waiting motorcycles.

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It was the latest twist in one of the most dramatic phases yet of protests that have gripped Hong Kong for the past five months.

Police cordoned off the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Sunday after hundreds of protesters began occupying it last week, trapping the demonstrators inside.

The standoff has led to violent clashes with protesters using petrol bombs, catapults, and bows and arrows as makeshift weapons.

Police have responded with tear gas and on Monday fired live rounds, though they said they believed no one had been hit.

Exhausted and low on supplies, hundreds of the holed-up protesters have surrendered, while others have attempted to escape including by crawling through drains.

But as of Tuesday, dozens were still believed to be inside the university.

The campus has been designated a 'riot' zone, meaning that those who surrender or are caught escaping could face a charge of rioting, which carries up to 10 years in prison.

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