November 18, 2019 / 2:46 AM / 25 days ago

U.S. condemns 'unjustified use of force' in Hong Kong: senior official

Police fire tear gas towards protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration said Sunday, as protesters battled Hong Kong police who had trapped them inside a major university.

“We condemn the unjustified use of force and urge all sides to refrain from violence and engage in constructive dialogue,” the senior U.S. official said.

“As the President has said, the United States expects Beijing to honor its commitments under the Sino-British joint Declaration and to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system and democratic way of life,” the official said.

Hong Kong police sealed off the Polytechnic University and demonstrators rampaged through a tourist district, after almost two straight days of standoffs that have raised fears of a bloody showdown.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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