Facing arrest or a crackdown and with nowhere to go, the mood among protesters inside the campus was increasingly desolate as night fell on Monday.
Some slumped on chairs, exhausted from two days of running battles. Others cried, consoled by friends.
“There is no way we can get out of the university safely now,” said one 19-year-old, without giving a name.
Supplies of bottled water and fresh food were dwindling, while warnings issued by authorities outside were turning increasingly stark.
Calls were made on phones with depleted batteries throughout the day to family, friends and lawyers. One man sitting alone in a canteen broke off from his lunch and sobbed.
Hong Kong’s protests started in June in opposition to a now-shelved bill that would have allowed extraditions to China.
But the demonstrations quickly spun out into a wider pro-democracy struggle, and angry calls for police accountability.