Wires

HIGHLIGHTS-Hong Kong disrupted as citywide protests spread

HONG KONG, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters paralysed parts of Hong Kong for a fourth day on Thursday, forcing school to close and blocking highways and other transport to disrupt the financial hub amid a marked escalation of violence.

Black-clad protesters and university students maintained blockades of major roads, including the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to the Kowloon area. Police fired tear gas near the tunnel early in the morning to try to clear the protesters.

Following is the latest news from the protests:

- 1:39 a.m. Thursday (1739 GMT Wednesday): Hong Kong's government says a worker of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department was hit in the head by something hurled by masked rioters during his lunch break on Wednesday, and he is in critical condition.

- 1752 GMT Thursday: City government condemns what it calls the illegal and violent acts of protesters and rioters causing serious disruption to traffic and seriously affecting the public.

- 2257 GMT Thursday: MTR Corp says train service disrupted on the East Rail Line due to vandalism and services linking Tai Wai to the border Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations suspended.

- 2303 GMT Thursday: Transport Department says as Tolo Highway and Cross Harbour Tunnel are closed. About 240 sets of damaged traffic lights are under urgent repair.

- 0025 GMT Thursday: Authorities say 64 people were injured during Wednesday's clashes. Two men are in critical condition.

- 0057 GMT Thursday: Police say a man dressed in black, aged in his 30s, has died. An initial investigation showed he fell from a height and there were no suspicious circumstances. It was not clear if his death was related to the protests.

- 0334 GMT Thursday: Pro-democracy group Demosisto says the U.S. Senate will begin to examine Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as soon as this week, aiming to complete the legislation before the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22.

- 0335 GMT Thursday: Hong Kong Education Bureau says all schools in the city will suspend classes from Friday to Sunday.

- 0401 GMT Thursday: Police says they have deployed tear gas early in the morning to disperse "rioters" blocking roads while some shot arrows from Hong Kong Polytechnic University at police.

- 0453 GMT Thursday: Broadcaster RTHK says universities in Sweden, Norway and Denmark have urged their exchange students in Hong Kong to consider leaving in light of the escalating violence.

- 0527 GMT Thursday: Hundreds of people and protesters swarm roads in the business district at lunchtime for the fourth day in a row, while a few hundred also take to the streets in Taikoo Shing in eastern Hong Kong district of Quarry Bay. (Reporting by Donny Kwok Editing by James Pomfret, Robert Birsel)