Warning Alert | Nov. 17: 11:47 p.m. EST
Protests taking place in several areas of Hong Kong, China, Nov. 18, amid ongoing standoff. Avoid protests. Plan for transport disruptions.
- Incident: Protests
- Location: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
- Date: Nov. 18
- Impact: Heightened security, business and transport disruptions, clashes
Protesters continue a days-long standoff with police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University as of Nov. 18. Reports indicate that police have surrounded the campus, preventing activists and students from leaving. Police and protesters have been clashing in the area in recent days, with demonstrators fortifying entrances to the campus and using petrol bombs, arrows, and other weapons to prevent officers from entering the premises. Police have fired tear gas and used water cannon in the area and have reportedly arrested dozens of protesters. As of the morning of Nov. 18, activists say there are between 600-700 people still inside the university, and that security forces are preventing them from leaving. Additional clashes and violence are likely near the campus through at least Nov. 18.
Protesters are blocking roads in several areas of Kowloon, especially sections of Nathan Road near the Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei, and Jordan MTR stations. Local accounts suggest the roadblocks may be a diversionary tactic to draw police away from the university. There have been no reports of police in the area; however, authorities will probably attempt to clear the roadblocks in the future, likely leading to clashes with activists. Officers could respond with tear gas and water cannon, and fighting could occur in these and nearby areas of Kowloon.
Rallies and protests will continue in business centers in the city. Organizers have called for gatherings near district government offices 1200-1330; the largest demonstrations are likely in Mong Kok, Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan, Tseung Kwan O, Tuen Mun, and Wan Chai. Protesters also intend to gather at Pedder Street in Central on Hong Kong Island from 1230 to press for the passage of the proposed US Human Rights and Democracy Act; some activists could march to the US Consulate General's office. Activists could also gather at One Island East in Taikoo and near Tsim Sha Tsui. Additional, unannounced demonstrations are also likely and may lead to localized transport and business disruptions, particularly if police move to disperse the gatherings.
Ground transport disruptions are highly likely to continue. Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) continues to experience interruptions. As of the morning of Nov. 18, officials had halted service between Mong Kok East and Hung Hom stations on the East Rail Line and East Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom stations on the West Rail Line. Whampoa Station, on the Kwun Tong Line, remains closed. While officials are attempting to maintain service during the demonstrations, authorities can close stations and alter or suspend MTR and light rail service due to protest activity and poor safety conditions. Roadblocks, clashes, and security measures will continue to cause localized traffic and bus disruptions in areas where demonstrations are occurring.
Avoid Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the surrounding area, if possible. Monitor local media for protest updates, as demonstrators are unlikely to announce plans in advance. Avoid rally sites due to the threat of localized clashes. Immediately leave the area and shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building if violence erupts. Confirm appointments and transport reservations. Make allowances for possible business disruptions. Consider work-from-home or early-release arrangements. Allow extra time for ground transportation. Avoid politically sensitive conversations in public areas, and do not take photographs of protesters or police activity.