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U.N. human rights office asks Hong Kong authorities to de-escalate standoff

The U.N. human rights office is calling on authorities in Hong Kong to do all they can to de-escalate a standoff between security forces and anti-government protesters holed up in a university.

The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said it is concerned about increasing violence by young people “who are clearly very angry, with deep-seated grievances.”

Colville told reporters in Geneva that most protesters have been demonstrating peacefully, and that authorities had “by and large” respected the right to freedom of assembly.

He urged Hong Kong authorities to “address the humanitarian situation” of protesters at Polytechnic University whose situation was “clearly deteriorating.”

He said the rights office remains concerned about a possible further escalation of violence in Hong Kong.