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Instagram's 'I Stand With Hong Kong' Effect Shows Solidarity With Masks And Smoke

As protests rage in the streets of Hong Kong, there's a way regular people worldwide can show their support for the pro-democracy citizens.

Digital creative Mike Bodge designed the 'I Stand With Hong Kong' Instagram effect, which can be overlaid on selfies and photos taken on the social media app.

The effect puts a black mask -- similar to those worn by protesters in the demonstrations which have been held in Hong Kong for months -- over the face of any person in the photo. The background can be switched between a number of dark city backdrops, from neon signs to alleyways, or one of the city's now iconic 'Lennon walls' covered in post-it notes.

People using the effect, including Bodge (centre). Image: Instagram

The effect shared by Bodge does not appear to be officially endorsed or designed by Instagram. The app opened up the capability for outside designers to create their own photo effects and filters earlier this year, through its Spark AR (augmented reality) platform.

"I made an Instagram filter that lets you show your solidarity with the brave people of Hong Kong," Bodge wrote online as he shared the effect on Tuesday.

"If China sees the world has Hong Kong’s back it will make a difference. Thank you."

One of the backgrounds available in the Instagram effect. Image: Instagram

10 daily has contacted Bodge for comment. It is unclear exactly how many people have used the effect since it was released, but Bodge shared photos of a number of friends who had.

It comes as protest activity intensifies in Hong Kong, with concern over the situation at the city's Polytechnic University.

Anti-government protesters holed up in the campus searched for escape routes after more than two days of clashes with police, dramatic breakouts by rope and motorcycle and more than 1000 arrests in 24 hours.

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Riot Police Storm Hong Kong Uni Campus, Arresting Students Barricaded Inside

'Thousands' of Hong Kong university students have barricaded themselves in a building and stockpiled petrol bombs, bricks and other weapons, setting fires as police storm the campus.

About 100 protesters were trapped in the Polytechnic University a day after students, some tired and fearful of police storming the campus, tried again and again to flee, only to be beaten back by police firing rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas.

Some 235 injured were taken to hospital on Tuesday, the Hospital Authority said.

"I just want to leave. I feel very tired," said Thomas, 20, a student at another university who has been on the campus since the siege began. "I didn't throw Molotovs. I was here to support the protest."

Late in the evening, another small group tried to run for it through the main gate. Most, if not all, ended up running back into the campus as police shouted at them and flashed their torches rather than firing.

Anti-government protesters flee after clashing with police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Monday. Image: Getty

Police said nearly 800 people had left the campus peacefully by 11pm local time and would be investigated, including nearly 300 under the age of 18.

About 1100 people had been arrested in the past 24 hours on charges including rioting and possession of offensive weapons, police added. The total since citywide protests began in June is more than 5000.

Hundreds of protesters fled from the university or surrendered overnight and on Monday amid running battles on nearby streets, where demonstrators threw petrol bombs and rocks at police. Some made it out by rope and motorcycle.

Protesters watch as a fire burns at the main entrance of the university on Monday. Image: Getty

About a dozen tried and failed to flee through the university's sewers. A Reuters witness saw them lower themselves into a tunnel wearing gas masks and plastic sheets, but the tunnel was too narrow.

"We keep trying to think how to escape, but every time we pick a spot we see many police nearby, said a 22-year-old who gave his name as Marcus, sitting with two friends in the campus canteen at a table piled with dirty dishes and plastic cups.

"But if we give up, we're finished."

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Hong Kong police have reportedly opened fire and hit at least one protester, dramatic footage claims to show.

In the campus central square, a giant "SOS" call for help was spelled out in pink, blue and yellow bath towels.

The university is the last of five that protesters have occupied to use as bases from which to disrupt the city, blocking the Cross-Harbour Tunnel outside and other arteries.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government was very much on the "reactive side" in dealing with the protests but she did not rule out more violence even as she urged peace. Lam said she had been shocked that campuses had been turned into "weapons factories".

With AAP.