“We have to take the risk,” said one 26-year-old protester surnamed Lee, who took part in battle. “We have no alternative.”
Some of the most prominent members of the protest movement warned that the siege could end with widespread bloodshed.
“Is the world going to witness bloody crackdown w/o stopping ruthless regime?” said Joshua Wong, who led the 2014 Occupy protests and has been one of the most visible demonstrators in what is now a leaderless movement.
Over the weekend, Chinese troops exited their barracks in the former colony to help clear roadblocks, raising fears among the opposition that Beijing might directly intervene. The Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper said there was no room for compromise, and the editor-in-chief of the Global Times newspaper called for police to use live rounds if attacked.