HONG KONG (AP) – The Latest on the Hong Kong protests (all times local):
Mainland Chinese students fleeing violent protests in Hong Kong are taking advantage of a program that offers them a week of free accommodation in hotels and hostels in the neighboring city of Shenzhen.
Chinese media reported that one hostel had received more than 80 applications for rooms as of 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The “Grads Home” service was established in 2013 to provide short-term accommodations to recent graduates looking for jobs in the tech hub.
The Beijing Evening News reported that mainland students have said in online posts that protesters have broken into their dormitories, spray-painted insults on walls and banged on their doors.
Hong Kong police said Wednesday that they had helped a group of mainland students leave their campus after it was barricaded by demonstrators.
Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has suspended classes at primary and secondary schools because of violence and described the situation in the city as “chilling.”
The bureau also appealed for “school children to stay at home, not to hang around in the streets, to stay away from danger, and not to participate in illegal activities.”
Many of the masked people taking part in the protests are thought to be high school and university students.
The bureau said schools would still be open while classes were suspended Wednesday and Thursday and teachers should show up at work in case some parents sent their children to classes.
It added that schools should ensure the safety of children who did attend.
Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.
Many subway and rail stations were closed Wednesday after the protesters blocked commutes and vandalized trains. Classes were suspended at schools and universities.
Police and protesters battled on multiple fronts overnight at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Gasoline bombs and fires lit the nighttime scene, and the situation remained tense in the morning.
A police official said protesters were carrying out insane acts and Hong Kong was on the brink of a total breakdown after more than five months of protests.