As the police siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University drags on into Wednesday morning, there are only about 100 protesters left on the campus. Everyone else has been arrested, most having agreed to surrender themselves after running out of food and water. There are many more protesters in Hong Kong than the ones at this university but these were presumably some of the die-hards and the organizers. If nothing else, seeing these students face the possibility of up to 10 years in prison has to give pause to others. Is the Hong Kong protest movement coming to an end, at least for now?

Since Sunday evening, police have surrounded the campus following a day of extremely violent clashes which the force declared to be a riot.

On Monday, hard core radicals went on a rampage all over Kowloon, wreaking havoc by blocking roads and setting off petrol bombs in a bid to distract the police and thin out their ranks at the campus…

Police fired 1,458 rounds of tear gas, 1,391 rubber bullets, 325 beanbag rounds and 265 sponge grenades on Monday…

At Polytechnic University’s stand-off, about 800 protesters, including 300 aged under 18, had surrendered by Tuesday night while another 500 were arrested.

There were some dramatic escape attempts but most of them failed:

Several protesters have attempted to escape from the besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) via underground sewers.

On Tuesday morning, demonstrators sought to leave the blockaded campus through an underground pipe network to avoid capture by the police, Now TV reported. But some of them fell ill during the escape and had to be treated by medics…

On Monday evening, groups climbed down ropes from a bridge to motorbikes waiting on the road underneath. Dozens managed to flee before police discovered the plan.

Some made a dramatic dash across a footbridge before the route was closed off by police, Citizen News reported. Others unsuccessfully attempted to break through police cordons on Monday but were either pushed back by tear gas or arrested, according to HK01.

Here’s a clip of one of those attempts:

One of the protest leaders released this video from inside the university in which a woman, her face hidden by a mask and a hat, describes the protesters last stand:

Meanwhile, mainland China seems to be making additional moves to stop the protests for good. A decision by a Hong Kong court to allow people to wear masks is being criticized by the communist legislature:

A statement Tuesday from the National People’s Congress’ Legislative Affairs Commission said some deputies had expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the Hong Kong court’s ruling, which struck down a ban on face masks at protests…

Tuesday’s statement said the court’s decision “seriously weakened the rightful administrative powers” of Hong Kong’s leader and doesn’t conform with either the territory’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, or the NPC’s decisions.

The commission said, “We are currently studying opinions and suggestions raised by some NPC deputies.”

The hint that Beijing may move to overrule the decision could fuel further protests.

It could definitely fuel the protesters anger. This originally started more than 20 weeks ago over a proposition which many feared would allow Hong Kong residents to be extradited to mainland China. If Beijing overrules Hong Kong courts that would strike the same nerve of judicial independence. However, in the past student protesters were able to retreat to the city’s many universities and police would not pursue them. Now that police are cracking down and leaving protesters no place to retreat it’s not clear the protests can continue in the same way.

The Senate passed two bills today aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong:

The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement that has gripped the Chinese-ruled financial center for months…

Under the first Senate bill, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for special U.S. trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial center. It also would provide for sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.

The House has already passed a similar bill. The Senate also passed another bill that would ban the export of American made tear gas, stun guns and other items used by Hong Kong police. Both bills seem like a good idea but I wonder if it isn’t too little, too late. Until recently, most protests took place on the weekends. We’ll have to see if people turn out this coming weekend once again or if the siege on Hong Kong Poly has changed the dynamic.

Finally, here’s a Sky News clip showing the conditions on the campus: