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Signs emerge of unrest subsiding in Hong Kong

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Commuters drive through the reopened Cross Harbour Tunnel, a key route in Hong Kong, early on November 27, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The crucial Cross Harbour Tunnel in Hong Kong, which had been blocked by anti-government protesters, has been reopened, and a lockdown of the nearby Polytechnic University (PolyU) in the north of the semi-autonomous Chinese city has also practically ended.

The reopening of the Cross Harbour Tunnel, which connects the northern Kowloon district to the other parts of Hong Kong, came in the early hours of Wednesday.

Anti-government protesters had been blocking the entrance to the tunnel and had barricaded themselves in the PolyU since almost two weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong television showed vehicles driving through the tunnel unimpeded.

The PolyU had been used by the anti-government protesters to stockpile weapons, including bows and arrows, catapults, and petrol bombs, prompting police to lay a siege to the university.

Police was on Wednesday searching the campus for any protesters who might still be hiding in the maze of buildings.

The reopening of the tunnel and the end of the university standoff, together with the recent elections held in almost complete peace, indicate that the six months of unrest in the city may be coming to an end.

Hong Kong has been engulfed by mass protests since June. The public display of anger initially came in opposition to a controversial extradition bill. The proposal was shelved, but the protests continued and took on an increasingly violent form, with masked individuals vandalizing public and private property and attacking security forces and government buildings.

Beijing sees the US and Britain — the former colonial power in Hong Kong — as instigators of the unrest in the city.

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