At least a few dozen were believed to still be at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation in support of the protesters.

A protester checks a mobile phone at the campus of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong Thursday, November 21, 2019.
A protester checks a mobile phone at the campus of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong Thursday, November 21, 2019. (Achmad Ibrahim / AP)

A small but determined group of protesters is remaining inside a Hong Kong university campus, resisting pleas to turn themselves in to police.

At least a few dozen were believed to still be at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Thursday morning. 

The exact number is unclear because they have broken up into small groups in different parts of the campus.

They are the holdouts from a much larger group that occupied the campus for several days and battled police last weekend.

Much of the campus is damaged, with rooms vandalised and windows shattered. Electricity and water are still functioning.

The Asian financial hub has had a brief respite from months of often violent demonstrations, with relative calm across the city for the past two days and nights ahead of District Council elections set for Sunday.

The government said late on Wednesday it was closely monitoring the situation to see whether the elections could be held safely.

The university, in the centre of the bustling Kowloon peninsula, is the last campus still occupied by activists during a week that saw the most intense violence since the anti-government demonstrations escalated more than five months ago.

Trump expected to sign Hong Kong legislation

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation passed by Congress intended to support protesters in Hong Kong, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, a move sure to anger China.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say when Trump would approve the legislation.

China's state Xinhua news agency said a top Chinese official in Hong Kong, Xie Feng, had summoned the US consul-general to denounce the legislation as gross interference and violation of international law.

The anger over the US legislation comes as the two countries are locked in delicate trade talks.

Popular challenge

Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing has said it is committed to the "one country, two systems" formula granting Hong Kong autonomy.

The unrest marks the most serious popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

Some protesters have surrendered while others were held during escape attempts that included clambering down from a bridge to waiting motorbikes and fleeing through the sewers.

Source: AP