Around 60 protesters are believed to still be barricaded inside the Polytechnic University (PolyU) on Thursday, November 21, as the stand-off with riot police enters its fifth consecutive day. A heavy police presence remains deployed around the university, and officials are calling for the remaining demonstrators to surrender. Transportation disruptions have largely subsided on Thursday, despite calls from the protesters at PolyU for traffic and rail services to be paralyzed. However, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel near PolyU remains closed even after debris in the area was removed. Hong Kong’s Transport Department warned that it will not be able to reopen in the near future due to damage to the traffic control system. A free ferry service has been established between Hung Hom and Wan Chai and Kowloon City and Wan Chai until the tunnel reopens. Some stations along the MTR’s East and West rail lines remain closed on Thursday due to damaged facilities. Up-to-date information on train service and station closures can be found on the MTR website.
On Wednesday, November 20, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) announced plans to hold a rally at Victoria Park on Sunday, December 8. They have asked supporters to gather from 14:00-18:00. The CHRF has organized the demonstration to mark Human Rights Day, which is observed on December 10 every year. As of Thursday, it is unclear if the police will grant the CHRF permission to hold the rally.
Further protests may be organized with little warning in the near term and a heightened security presence is likely across Hong Kong until the political situation in the city fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are to be expected during all periods of protest activity.
Tensions significantly escalated across the territory on November 11, after a police officer shot a protester in Sai Wan Ho. Later in the day, a man confronting protesters was reportedly set on fire.
On September 4, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. The bill sparked mass protests of up to 2 million people throughout Hong Kong since June 9. However, protest actions have continued since the government's announcement, as protesters' demands evolved into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.
Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites, to confirm the status of their flights prior to departure for the airport and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Individuals are also advised to avoid wearing black and white colors around protest zones or rallies as they are associated with protesters.
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