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Hong Kong leader calls for peaceful end to university standoff

By
Darryl Coote
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that 400 adults and 200 minors holde up at a university surrendered overnight. Photo by Vivek Prakash/EPA-EFE
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that 400 adults and 200 minors holde up at a university surrendered overnight. Photo by Vivek Prakash/EPA-EFE

Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam called for a peaceful resolution Tuesday to a standoff between police and pro-democracy protesters still trapped within a university.

Lam said during a news conference that roughly 100 protesters were still holed up in Hong Kong Polytechnic University after 600 had surrendered to authorities during the night.

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"We will use whatever means to continue to persuade and arrange for these remaining protesters to leave the campus as soon as possible so this whole operation can end in a peaceful manner and lay the foundation for the police to stop violence in Hong Kong," she said.

The university's campus has become a violent battleground between police and pro-democracy protesters since Sunday. On Monday, police accused the protesters of turning the university into a "weapons factory."

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Lam said everyone wants this situation to end peacefully but the government is "very much on the reactive side" of the conflict and how it responds will be determined by the protesters.

"If the protesters are coming out in a peaceful manner, in other words, they stop violence, they give up their weapons, they take the advice of the policemen, then there is no situation where that sort of violence will happen," she said, adding that police will take "necessary actions" to prevent further violence if called for.

Lam said 200 protesters who surrendered to police overnight were minors and were released after their information was recorded following "an understanding" she reached with the police not to arrest anyone below the age of 18. The 400 adults apprehended during the night were arrested.

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The deal was made, she said, to bring the ordeal to a "reconciliatory resolution."

The university battle is one of the fiercest between police and pro-democracy protesters in the five months of unrest that have rocked Hong Kong over a now shelved extradition bill.

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