Hong Kong – Hong Kong was experiencing a third day of chaos Wednesday after a night of ultra-violent clashes in a university between pro-democracy protesters and police.
Early morning workers were faced Wednesday with the closure of several subway stations, a railway line and the stop of dozens of bus lines, after two days marked by the worst violence in 24 weeks of mobilization.
Many crossroads in Hong Kong were littered with debris and various obstacles placed by protesters, who followed social calls to try to outflank the police and prevent them from coming back to the campus.
In Mongkok, a popular district that has been regularly the scene of clashes in recent months, barricades, made of bamboo scaffolding remains and debris of all kinds, were erected in the middle of the main shopping street.
Car traffic, generally very dense in the middle of the week in the megacity, was abnormally calm. In order to get back to work, locals lined up for long hours waiting for buses or taxis.
The Hong Kong education authorities have allowed parents to choose whether or not to send their children to school. Some international schools have preferred to remain closed for the second day in a row.
The day before, the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong was the epicenter of the protest. The security forces tried to dislodge the hundreds of demonstrators who had erected barricades with tear gas and rubber bullets. The protesters responded with throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
Once night fell, this area turned into a real battlefield. Flames rose in the sky, giving off a thick cloud of pungent smoke.
The police also used a water cannon before retiring, leaving the university in the hands of protesters who stayed up all night. Many slept on the track or in the stands. Others played football to kill time while taking turns on the barricades.
– Make "proof of restraint"-
Shocks, of lesser magnitude, have also occurred in three other universities.
Meanwhile, Tuesday noon, in the district of Central which is home to many large foreign companies and luxury shops, thousands of employees have occupied hours on the streets.
They then threw cobblestones and various objects before the riot police intervened.
At the time of the exit of the offices, the crowd again invaded peacefully the arteries of this district, the police force replicating like earlier in the day by shots of tear gas.
These scenes illustrate how many ordinary citizens continue to support the movement for democracy, despite the violence perpetrated by the more radical elements.
On Monday, a police officer shot and injured a protester and a man was turned into a human torch.
"The rule of law in Hong Kong has been pushed to the brink of total collapse"Police spokesman Kong Wing-cheung said Tuesday.
Chinese state newspapers have reported that the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which has a garrison in Hong Kong, was on hand to support the Hong Kong police, if necessary. "restraint".
At the end of the first day of violence, the United States and the United Kingdom urged the head of the Hong Kong executive, Carrie Lam, to reach a compromise with the protesters.
The European Union has asked all parties to do "proof of restraint"and called for a"credible and fast solution"to the crisis.
Chinese diplomacy rejected the "afterthoughtsfrom London and Washington.
Hong Kong, handed over to China by the British in 1997, is a semi-autonomous region enjoying freedoms unknown in the rest of China until 2047.
But Hong Kongers militant for democratic reforms accuse Beijing of increasing its political hold.