Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters dramatically escaped a two-day police siege at a university campus by shimmying down ropes from a bridge and whisked away on motorbikes.

Clashes rumbled into the early hours today between protesters and police who had threatened to use deadly force to dislodge activists holed up at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The university siege has become a battle of wills between Hong Kong's stretched police force and the constantly innovating protest movement.

In an apparently coordinated effort, tens of thousands of Hong Kongers streamed towards the university campus to break the siege, as clashes simultaneously raged with police nearby in Kowloon.

Earlier yesterday, police arrested 51 people in connection with rioting, who claimed to be medics or journalists.

A senior police officer claimed that 12 of purported medics had no first aid qualifications while another three people wearing press vests were also unable to provide credentials.

China has refused to budge on any of the protesters' demands and warned it will not tolerate dissent in the financial centre home to 7.5 million people.

Meanwhile, Airline SAS has reduced its number of flights to Hong Kong due to ongoing pro-democracy protests.

The Scandinavian carrier said it was decreasing its five weekly flights from the Danish capital Copenhagen to four due to a drop in demand in November.

Protests started in June as a peaceful condemnation of a now-shelved China Extradition Bill, but have morphed into a confrontational action to defend the city's unique freedoms from perceived encroachment by Beijing.

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