Hong Kong police on Friday withdrew from the wreckage of a university campus damaged in weeks of clashes, as pro-democracy activists canvassed social media for support for more rallies at the weekend.
Senior faculty members of Hong Kong Polytechnic University toured the campus after police left, visiting the canteen and sports hall and inspecting smashed windows and charred piles of what used to be barricades.
After more than five months of increasingly violent demonstrations, the Chinese-ruled city has enjoying relative calm since local elections on Sunday delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.
Activists are trying to keep up momentum for the movement, after winning backing from US President Donald Trump that has renewed global attention on the Asian financial hub and sparked blistering warnings from Beijing.
“Many classrooms, laboratories and library were destroyed. Even so, there’s been no loss of life. We insisted on adopting a humane way to solve the crisis,” university president Teng Jin-Guang told reporters.
He said more than 1000 protesters had left the campus over the last two weeks. Despite the huge damage, he said he was confident that the next semester would start on time.
At one point on Friday, a man and woman emerged from the campus wearing black face masks and walking hand-in-hand. They walked straight out and down the street, with no sign of police. Local media were not sure if they were protesters.