US condemns 'unjustified use of force' in Hong Kong: Senior official

People are detained by police near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on Nov 18, 2019.

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States condemned the "unjustified use of force" in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to protect Hong Kong's freedom, a senior official in President Donald Trump's administration said on Sunday (Nov 17), as protesters battled Hong Kong police who had trapped them inside a major university.

"We condemn the unjustified use of force and urge all sides to refrain from violence and engage in constructive dialogue," the senior US official said.

"As the President has said, the United States expects Beijing to honour its commitments under the Sino-British joint Declaration and to protect Hong Kong's freedom, legal system and democratic way of life," the official said.

Hong Kong police sealed off the Polytechnic University and demonstrators rampaged through a tourist district, after almost two straight days of stand-offs that have raised fears of a bloody showdown.

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