HONG KONG — The Hong Kong police early Monday morning tried to storm a university campus that antigovernment activists had occupied for days, a tense moment that could escalate the monthslong political crisis gripping the semiautonomous Chinese city.
Student leaders said the police had carried out “a massive arrest of persons within the campus” and that there had been multiple injuries, with three people suffering injuries to their eyes and 40 suffering from hypothermia after being hit with water from police water cannons.
At the outer edges of a barricade protecting the university, the police arrested a few protesters, but they fell back after other students set the barricade on fire and threw dozens of petrol bombs at the police.
The standoff on Monday at Hong Kong Polytechnic University was the police’s most direct intervention onto one of the city’s university campuses, which until recently were safe spaces for young demonstrators. The police assault began at about 5:30 a.m. in Hong Kong. By 6:15 a.m., the fire at the barricade set ablaze by protesters was still big enough, and burning bright enough, to be visible at a distance.
The protests began over legislation,