HONG KONG, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Dozens of protesters escaped from Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Monday on the back of motorbikes as police fired projectiles at them.
After shimmying down plastic hosing from a bridge they had been occupying on the university campus, the black-clad protesters are seen clambering onto waiting motorbikes and being driven away by supporters, in dramatic moments captured by a Reuters reporter.
The protesters had to lower themselves about 10 metres onto the flyover below, and were met with a hail of projectiles fired by police as they descended. Some of the motorcycles were waiting for them, while others sped to the scene.
Not everyone seems to have got away. The Reuters reporter who filmed the escape later saw some of the motorbikes abandoned on the road. A number of protesters appeared to have been arrested.
Many other protesters remained in the university, which has been cordoned off by police using rubber bullets and tear gas to prevent them escaping and stop other protesters armed with petrol bombs breaking through the cordon to rescue them.
The past week has witnessed the most intense violence in five months of anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong’s promised freedoms when the then British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. They say they are responding to excessive use of force by police.
China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy. The city’s police deny accusations of brutality and say they show restraint. (Reporting by James Pomfret, Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Janet Lawrence)