HONG KONG (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for a fourth day on Thursday, forcing schools to close and blocking highways and other transport to disrupt the financial hub amid a marked escalation of violence.
Black-clad protesters and university students maintained blockades of major roads, including the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to the Kowloon area. Police fired tear gas near the tunnel early in the morning to try to clear the protesters.
Following is the latest news from the protests:
- 1:39 a.m. Thursday (1739 GMT Wednesday): Hong Kong’s government says a worker of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department was hit in the head by something hurled by masked rioters during his lunch break on Wednesday, and he is in critical condition.
- 1752 GMT Wednesday: City government condemns what it calls the illegal and violent acts of protesters.
- 2257 GMT Wednesday: MTR Corp says train services disrupted on the East Rail Line due to vandalism and services linking Tai Wai to the border Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations suspended.
- 2303 GMT Wednesday: Tolo Highway and Cross Harbour Tunnel are closed. About 240 sets of damaged traffic lights are under urgent repair.
- 0025 GMT Thursday: Authorities say 64 people were injured during Wednesday’s clashes. Two men are in critical condition.
- 0057 GMT Thursday: Police say a man dressed in black, aged in his 30s, has died. An initial investigation showed he fell from a height and there were no suspicious circumstances. It was not clear if his death was related to the protests.
- 0335 GMT Thursday: Hong Kong Education Bureau says all schools in the city will suspend classes from Friday to Sunday.
- 0401 GMT Thursday: Police fire tear gas early in the morning to disperse “rioters” blocking roads while some shot arrows from Hong Kong Polytechnic University at police.
- 0453 GMT Thursday: Broadcaster RTHK says universities in Sweden, Norway and Denmark have urged their exchange students in Hong Kong to consider leaving in light of the escalating violence.
- 0527 GMT Thursday: Hundreds of people and protesters swarm roads in the business district at lunchtime for the fourth day in a row, while a few hundred also take to the streets in Taikoo Shing in eastern Hong Kong district of Quarry Bay.
- 0738 GMT Thursday: Hong Kong Bar Association says it strongly deplores the arson on the Shatin Law Courts building on Wednesday, condemning all the instances of violence and arson
- 0758 GMT Thursday: Hong Kong is expected to announce a weekend curfew, China’s Global Times, a tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, reported on its Twitter feed, citing sources.
- 0801 GMT Thursday: Police say they will appoint up to 100 officers of the Correctional Services Department as Special Constables to reinforce.
- 0808 GMT Thursday: Hong Kong benchmark index ends down 0.9% at 26,323.69, the lowest close in nearly 5 weeks
- 0813 GMT Thursday: Global Times’ Tweet on Hong Kong expected to announce curfew no longer visible online
- 0821 GMT Thursday: Police say they fired 578 rounds of tear gas, 471 rounds of rubber bullets and others on Wednesday, while two policemen were injured.
- 0825 GMT Thursday: Chinese University chiefs arrange voluntary evacuation of staff and students - local newspaper reported, citing associate professor Wilson Wong.
- 0850 GMT Thursday: Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch, Tse Chun-chung, says Chinese University has been used as a weapons factory. “Their acts are another step closer to terrorism,” Tse says. “This alarming trend has spread like cancer cells to other universities in Hong Kong like the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University.”
- 0856 GMT Thursday: Tse says police will temporary choose not to have any direct confrontation with high-spirited rioters to avoid injury and give a breather.
- 0930 GMT Thursday: MTR Corp says train service on Tung Chung Line disrupted due to damage to station facilities.
Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by James Pomfret, Robert Birsel