After five straight days of traffic disruption and chaos, Hong Kong witnessed a relatively calm on Saturday as a key highway fully reopened after being blocked by protesters the night before.
With the closure of the Tolo Highway and the suspension of the MTR train services on Friday, the government provided free ferry services between Tai Po and Wu Kai Sha, so that residents could travel to other parts of the city, South China Morning Post reported.
However, main arteries such as the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and stretches of Pok Fu Lam Road and Bonham Road remained blocked, while MTR train services between Fo Tan and Tai Po Market were still suspended.
Train services were also suspended between Hung Hom and Mong Kok East after a petrol bomb was thrown onto the track on Saturday morning, but services later resumed.
Late on Friday, protesters clashed with police in Mong Kok and occupied the Chinese University (CUHK), before eventually pulling out.
Earlier on Thursday, the city’s Justice Minister Teresa Cheng on Thursday was hurt when she fell after being surrounded by demonstrators, in what was the first physical confrontation between a cabinet official and anti-government protesters.
The University of Hong Kong’s main campus, which had become a base for protesters this week, was quiet on Saturday morning, with hubs like the main library closed and few students to be seen.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam issued a statement condemning the protesters’ action against Cheng
Earlier on Tuesday, the city’s universities emerged as a new flashpoint with sustained clashes at major campuses for the first time.
On Sunday, a 21-year-old who was shot by a policeman and a 57-year-old man who was set on fire after an argument with protesters remained hospitalized in “critical condition”.
Hong Kong has been upended by five months of huge and increasingly violent rallies, but Beijing has refused to give in to most of the movement’s demands.
Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student Alex Chow, who succumbed to serious injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a violent clash the weekend before.
The controversial China extradition bill was withdrawn in early September but the movement has morphed into a wider campaign for greater democracy and against alleged police brutality.