Hong Kong university protesters remain in last holdout against police

Pale and thin, a teenager wandered the nearly deserted campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. He wrapped his arms around his body — although it was unclear whether it was to ward off the cold or to reassure himself.

Only a handful of protesters remain at “Poly U,” which hundreds occupied for several days, fighting pitched battles with police in the surrounding streets. Authorities have cut off the campus and are arresting anyone who comes out, at least 700 since Sunday.

The teen, who wouldn’t give his exact age but said he is under 18, is one of the holdouts. He figured he had slept about 10 hours in total since arriving at the campus about five days earlier. He said he had eaten only two biscuits all day because his mind was too distracted, obsessed with one thought: How am I going to get out?

The campus takeovers were the latest escalation in an anti-government movement that has divided the city for more than five months. The protesters’ demands include fully democratic elections and an investigation into alleged police brutality in cracking down on the demonstrations.

The teen arrived at Polytechnic late last week, heeding a call for support from protesters who were occupying five major universities in Hong Kong. It was Thursday or Friday — the days and nights have become such a blur that he kept asking an interviewer what day it currently was.

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