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at 4:54pm on 20th January 2020


Newspaper stall after protest front line had passed, corner of Nathan and Jordan roads, Kowloon, Hong Kong, circa 3.30am, 18 November 2019. Photo: John Batten.

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The nearby Polytechnic University had been occupied for days by protesters. On the evening of 16 November 2019, the police began an intense siege at the campus entrance, firing continuous volleys of tear gas and toxic water from cannons. At about 9pm on the following day, the police blocked all entrances into the campus, trapping protesters inside. A call to "save PolyU" immediately went up on social media and the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok and Prince Edward were filled with protesters trying to break police lines and reach PolyU by throwing Molotov cocktails, flares and stones. The police stemmed the advance with multiple rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets. The street violence in the early hours of 18 November was the worst since protests began in June. Amid the mess, the 24-hour newspaper vendors located opposite Yue Hwa department store remained stoically open.

This article was originally published in Artomity magazine, December, Winter 2020

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