Hong Kong: Pro-Democracy protesters stepped up Wednesday a “blossom everyone” campaign of roadblocks and vandalism across Hong Kong that has crippled the international financial hub this week and ignited some of the worst violence in five months of unrest.
The new phase in the crisis, which has forced schools and shopping malls to close as well as the shutdown of large chunks of the vital train network, prompted police to warn on Tuesday the city was “on the brink of total collapse”.
China, facing the biggest challenge to its rule of the territory since it was handed back by the British in 1997, has insisted it will not buckle to the pressure and warned of tougher security measures.
On Wednesday, commuters across many parts of the city woke to the increasingly familiar scenario of roads choked with bricks, bicycles, couches and other materials that had been laid out by the protesters overnight to block traffic.
Various lines on the subway, used by more than half of the city’s 7.5 million people daily, were also suspended due to vandalism, forcing many workers to stay at home. Meanwhile, masked protesters dressed in their signature black were locked in a series of tense standoffs at university campus following battles on Tuesday that continued through the night with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.