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Chinese students flee Hong Kong as the violence increases

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Mainland Chinese university students are fleeing Hong Kong and primary and secondary school classes have been suspended as clashes become more violent in the city's 5-month anti-government turmoil.

For the third day in a row, protesters caused major disruptions to train services on Wednesday, blocking streets and gathering in the central business district. They plunged for anticipated collisions with the police on college campuses.

Authorities said the maritime police used a boat to help a group of mainland students leave the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who remained barricaded by protesters after violent clashes with the police on Tuesday.

Mainland students have said in online reports that they are the target of protesters who have smashed their dorms, applied sprayed insults to walls and slapped their doors, Beijing Evening News reported.

Many benefit from a program that offers a week of free accommodation in one of the dozens of hotels and hostels in the neighboring city on mainland Shenzhen, reported Chinese media.

The "Grads Home" service was established in 2013 to offer short-term accommodation to recent graduates looking for a job in the technical hub.

Many metro and train stations were closed in the morning because protesters blocked the doors of the train and destroyed train wagons. Classes were also suspended at universities.

The education office initially said that parents could decide if they wanted to keep their children at home, but later discontinue classes at primary and secondary schools for both Wednesday and Thursday.

The agency described the situation as chilling out and called for "school children to stay at home, not to hang out on the street, to stay away from danger and not to participate in illegal activities."

Many of the masked people participating in the protests are supposed to be high school students and university students.

Police suppressed a few protesters while a crowd gathered for a third consecutive day in a central business and luxury shopping area, public broadcaster RTHK reported. Protesters and police remained in the area and office workers watched from the sidewalks.

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, students and others craved a new potential collision with the police. Gas bombs and fires lit parts of the campus last night, while the police fought with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Security Secretary John Lee said the use of force was needed to gain control over a bridge from which protesters dropped objects on a roadway.

"The police have a duty to ensure that public safety is upheld," he told reporters. "That is why we had to take charge of the bridge that was previously controlled by the demonstrators."

Before Tuesday night's violence, Senior Police Superintendent Kong Wing warned that protesters were performing "insane acts" and said "our society has been pushed to the brink of a total collapse."

Groups of riot police were deployed around central Hong Kong and the surrounding areas to control new violence. Many students at CUHK, on ​​the outskirts of the vast metropolis, were armed with gas bombs, while some carried bows and arrows.

"We are afraid that the police will attack our house and our school and that we have to protect our house and our school," said a student, who gave his name as X Chan.

Jacky So, the president of the university association, asked for an order from the Supreme Court to prohibit the police from entering the campus without an order or approval from the school. The police had entered the campus and fired tear gas and used a water cannon on Tuesday.

The order would also block the police from using crowd control weapons, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, at the university. A decision was expected at the end of Wednesday.

The religious leaders of the city requested Wednesday to put an end to the violence and called on both police and demonstrators to be reluctant.

"At this very critical point, Hong Kong residents must unite and say no to violence," the leaders of the six major religious groups said in a statement.

The Chinese government's liaison office in Hong Kong said the semi-autonomous area is "sliding into the abyss of terrorism." It called firing a man a "blatant terrorism."

On Monday, a police officer pulled out his gun during a fight with demonstrators and shot one in the belly. In another neighborhood, a 57-year-old man who defended China was set on fire after a clear argument.

The man remained in critical condition on Wednesday and the demonstrator was in serious condition, the Hospital Authority said.

The past few weeks have been characterized by escalating vandalism from train stations and stores connected to mainland China, and attacks by both protesters and pro-Beijing supporters.

The police have arrested more than 3,500 people since the movement started in June over a revoked extradition law.

Activists saw the bill as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong & # 39; s autonomy and civil liberties, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years according to a "one nation, two systems" principle when the former British colony in 1997 returned to the Chinese control.

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